contact maria lorena lehman

send your message

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

spECIAL MASTERCLASS: Design concept formulation


Join Now to learn my HPA Design Formula to improve your architectural design concept formulations. This formula will help bring your mindset, skillset, and project design results to new heights. Plus, get the Design Insight Digest, FREE.


Does the Demolition of Building Spaces Come With a Cost? (Video)

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

Image Credit: © FireChickenTA99 | Flickr

What happens when a building is both futuristic and visionary in its own time, but has its life cut short when it is demolished? Is the cost of maintaining such a building so great that it has to be destroyed? This is the topic of a new documentary called A Necessary Ruin: The Story of Buckminster Fuller and the Union Tank Car Dome.

The following is a trailer for this 30 minute documentary, which I think poses some interesting questions for us to consider when taking part in the demolition of building spaces. As you watch it, ask yourself how you would make a decision about whether to salvage, renovate, demolish or create a “memorial icon” of a building:


A Necessary Ruin – Trailer from Evan Mather on Vimeo

When and How Would You “Pull the Plug” on a Building?

Let’s go back to this question about the making of a building icon. By definition an “icon” is a a sign or representation that stands for its object by virtue of a resemblance or analogy to it. (Definition here) Considering this, at what point does a building become more than a sum of its parts in the minds of a people? And what makes its iconic status live on through decades and even generations?

The fate of a building seems to lead toward its evolution as a ruin. Maintenance is economically costly, yet its demolition can bear an emotional or intellectual toll in a people and/or place. So, what I ask is how can we either physically or virtually preserve a building that is lost to the perils of time? … Especially, when you stop to consider what innovations like the internet and computer modeling can do to preserve a living icon of a building and the perception received by its occupants both collectively and personally.

Is a building that reaches a certain “status” ever truly demolished? And how can you interpret what that status is? Is true preservation solely a physical renovation and maintenance mindset? Or does it lend itself more toward using a building to educate and inspire those who experience it in some form?

As an architectural designer, you should ask yourself these questions as you design building spaces; for, when trying to achieve great architecture, starting with an end in mind can give you both inspiration and some great ideas — carrying through your design process into the quality of life for your building.




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
read more testimonials
blog article categoriesresearch designs

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.

maria lorena lehman, as seen in...
featured posts
From The Studio

A Filmmaking Tool for Dynamic Architectural Design

The link between architectural design and film is an important one. But have you ever thought about using the tools and process that filmmakers use to help you visualize your architectural design during its initial concept development stage?

Sense of Place

Using New Mediums to Shift Architectural Paradigms

By exploring the poetics of space through writing, painting, and modeling or sculpting (digitally or by hand) – one discovers moments where space transcends to heighten human experience. The latter mediums are ways to capture this somewhat transient event; and through the act of capturing these, one can see more deeply into the dynamics of what makes a space transcendent.

Design Process

How to Analyze Your Sketchbook (to Grow Design Results)

Your sketchbook holds a world of useful insight that you can use to push your design process even further. Thinking is a critical part of design, and a sketchbook helps you to unlock how you can exponentially improve your own design thinking. How do you use your sketchbook to design? What pages are your favorite? And how can you strengthen your sketchbook system?