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5 Smart Ways to Start Your Creativity Practice

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Free-Photos | Pixabay


As an architectural designer, you are often both problem-solving and striving to reach your fullest creative expression through your building designs. When these two goals are met, you as an architect have the ability to transform occupant life for the better – all because you are not settling for “default” design answers to complex design challenges. This means that you are striving for optimal creativity.

How often do you work to improve your creativity? You see, creativity is like a muscle, and it must be exercised for you to become a quick and smart design thinker and decision-maker. For this reason, I keep a weekly creativity journal to help me stay sharp and on point with my creative pursuits. In addition to a creativity journal, the very act of tackling a design challenge with a different tool, or by asking a perspective-shifting question, can help you to unlock and prompt creative sparks. The key is to know how to push yourself into new “creativity zones” where you can learn to shift paradigms, use new tools, unlock new processes, and even find new ways of working with your team.


When you are able to reach your fullest creative expression, your designs will renew and awaken connection between people, their environment, and with themselves. As you design, you will be thinking on a higher level that transcends the physical – to reach poetic heights. After all, there may be more than one solution to a given design problem, but the solution you propose can be the best one because it has the ability to improve human potential and performance with innovation that “moves” people into their best.

With each new architecture project, it is important to unlock a new way of thinking, seeing, and doing. Step outside of your “creativity comfort zone” by engaging in one or more of the following activities:

Plan a reading schedule: Read one book per week, or one book per month. The important thing is to get your mind thinking beyond the design challenge to spark creative insights.

Use a new design tool: Often using a new tool can help to unlock a new way of tackling a design challenge.

Ask a “what if” question: By completing the statement “What if…”, you will be able to spark new ideas or new ways of seeing your design challenge and its solution.

Optimize your design process:  Analyze your design process, and look for any weakness that you can improve upon, and/or strengths that you can expand.

Change your work environment: You may find benefit in going to a different location to do design thinking or decision-making. For instance, you may like to visit the project site, or simply go to a different part of your office.

Remember, change is the catalyst for creativity. Step outside your “comfort zone” to help you refresh and renew your creative mindset and skillset.


what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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