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Can a House Design Prepare Its Occupants for the Day Ahead

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

Lessening the Resistance of Habit Formation

House design can do more than simply be a passive player in its occupant’s life. Yes, homes can do more. They can serve to proactively foster, support, and propel growth in their occupants. For example, have you ever considered how a house design could be orchestrated to prepare its occupants for the day ahead? This means that the home would not simply sit idly by waiting to be used. Instead, it would be designed so that its feature materiality, location, and emitted stimuli all synchronize to help occupants at more personalized levels. To better understand this concept, read ahead to the following example of an inhabitant’s morning routine:

  • You see, a house design can be created to prepare its occupant for the day ahead. By understanding the narrative of a given occupant, the home would transiently adjust to help its occupant with aspects like morning grooming, exercise, healthy eating, incoming information (news, weather, etc) and any other routine or behavior that might be necessary for the day.
‍Image Credit: © narak0rn | Fotolia

By orchestrating the house design transiently, occupant activities will become easier to do. For example, an occupant struggling to exercise each day can use their environment to help make this activity a habit. By lessening the resistance to engage in such daily healthy habits, the home architecture would be playing an important role, by supporting and fostering the proper conditions for a habit to become routine.

Setting the Foundation for High Performance

With a house design that considers an occupants future daily needs (and longer-term goals), a given occupant will be able to redefine their human potential. They will be operating at a higher level of performance, since they will have the ability (and environmental support) to actually carry through with their healthy behaviors. In other words, the environment can help its occupants engage in healthy activities which become healthy habits, and this ultimately leads to the achievement of healthy goals.

Daily behaviors add up. And when the environment does its part to support its occupants to engage in the healthiest of behaviors possible — great progress can be made, not only for an individual that might be living in a home, but also for that individual’s roommates or family. As the architectural features are orchestrated and personalized to each occupant’s narrative, new daily routines and one-time activities can be carried out in the most ideal ways. Of course, a person still needs to do the internal work to set goals, and achieve their healthy habits to reach those goals — however, the environmental design can do its part to make goal attainment faster and better. Also, quality and fulfillment of life will likely increase as well.

Thus, as you design residential architecture, think in terms of how the environment can help prepare its occupant for the day ahead. This will set the foundation for how to personalize your design for its occupants by delving into narrative and stimuli orchestration. It is not enough for architecture to sit idly by, when it can do so much more for its occupants.

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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.

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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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