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Can a Building Impact Lifestyle Design?

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

Salk Institute. / Image Credit: © TheNose | Flickr

I often use the term “lifestyle design” when thinking about the design of architecture. By this, I mean that architecture holds within it a great power to uplift the way humans live their daily lives — and it is “lifestyle” which is directly connected to human health, happiness and spirit.

Although many factors must be considered, architecture is ultimately for the occupant. And it is up to the architect to provide real and meaningful value for them.

When you stop to think about all of the things that make up an occupant’s lifestyle, the list is quite overwhelming. In many ways, simply understanding what your occupant really needs is an art. Translating those needs into a wonderful design takes a lot of ingenuity and forethought.

Asking the Right Questions Will Guide You Toward the Right Solutions

What I challenge you to do is to take their needs, in all of their complexity, and solve for them by incorporating and targeting their lifestyle. How can you improve it? What do you need to change about it? What do they want to change? What do they love about it? And so on.

Hone your ability to ask the right questions. Know where to look for answers and what other global or cultural factors to consider when making your designs not only work, but work extremely well.

With each design decision you can ask — What is the “real architectural value” for occupants? How can you, as an architect, make sure that your designs are providing real value (going way beyond those important regulations and requirements)? And how can you rise above building “constraints” to really push toward a design that holds within it great architectural progress and meaning?

Know when you have found the right solutions. Know when to add complexity and when to simplify. The key is to unleash a building design that not only impacts lifestyle design, but improves it.

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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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