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Clothing as a Bridge Between Human Process and Architecture

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

Image Credit: © icathing | Flickr

Just imagine wearing clothes that monitor your body’s processes throughout the day. Well, in a recent issue of Scientific American it was found that MIT researchers have come up with a piezoelectric fiber that can record and produce sound. So, what does this mean for architecture and why would this impact you and your designs? I think the answer is in understanding that clothes can act as a bridge between your occupant and your building.

You see, as your occupant travels through your building, your building can actually begin to aggregate data sent by their clothes — which can not only engage occupants in what to do, but can also tell the building what to do and how to better respond and engage those occupants. Furthermore, your building can collect data from all of its occupants at any given time and begin to respond for the collective whole as well as each individual occupant — for instance, by understanding more about their human process of body temperature, blood pressure or movement speed and location.

The clothes of tomorrow can become a unifying bridge between occupants and their built environment — and there is a huge medical potential for those occupants to live both happier and healthier. Such sensory fabrics in the clothes of the future can make their wearers not only more aware of how they are health-wise, but also more in tune with their surroundings as the very buildings which they inhabit can assist, prompt or relax them as they engage in activities — think traveling up stairs, sitting in a room at a certain time of day, or if they are simply feeling stressed.

Interactive clothing has a lot of potential, especially when you begin to consider that other devices can sync with them — and when working in unison, then a hospital, museum, school, office and so on, can lead an occupant through a specific narrative of recovery, a learning experience or a productive workday just to name a few. Needless to say, there is much that can be done with sensory clothing, not only in commercial buildings but also in occupant homes as well.





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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