contact maria lorena lehman

send your message

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

special encore webinar presentation

Register for the FREE Special Encore Webinar Presentation that will teach you three techniques for creating extraordinary design concepts that outsmart problem complexity.


Embed Portals in Architectural Technology Design


Maria Lorena Lehman


Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy


In today’s micro-lecture, you will learn about 3 technology portal types that can be integrated into your architectural design. By thinking about architectural technology design as portal integration, you can expand upon, and push, the present-day uses of technology to bring greater benefit to your building occupant. In the micro-lecture, you will what portal types exist today, and how you can design to push beyond them.



00:05 Maria Lorena Lehman: I’m Maria Lorena Lehman, Founder of Be sure to visit this great education platform, where for free, you can download my book, “Bringing Architecture to the Next Level.” You’ll also get other great resources when you join for free, as a Design Insight member of Sensing Architecture.

00:26 MLL: In today’s micro-lecture, we’re going to take a look at why it is important to embed portals into architectural technology design. So, in this micro-lecture, we’re going to cover three types of technology portals. The first technology portal can occur within an architectural design where the occupant actually can reach through the technology to observe or monitor an event, a location, or a person. So, this is a portal because the occupant within your building is using technology, again, to connect through observation, to an event, a location or person that is off-site. So, this is similar to a television, for instance, where the viewer of a television can observe an event, a location, or a person through that technology. So, the television is a portal in a sense. But within your architecture, how can you use technology to push what this type of portal can do beyond what televisions are capable of doing today?

01:46 MLL: Now in the second technology portal type, we’ll explore the connection portal. And this is where an occupant can use technology to literally connect to an event, location, or a person. So, they’re going beyond observation, they’re actually interacting with the event, or the location, or the person that is off-site. An example of this can be seen today with use of the telephone, where the user of the telephone can pick up the phone and dial another person that is located in another location, off-site, and they can interact with one another. So there’s a two-way dialogue that occurs. The conversation, or the interaction is not one-sided.

02:39 MLL: Now in the third type of technology portal, there exists a proactive portal type. And this is where the occupant uses technology to proactively engage with an event, a person, or a location. An example of this can be seen today using the computer and the internet, for example.

03:04 MLL: This is a portal that converges information and data, and brings that to the occupant, and the occupant or the user of the computer/internet, can, in turn, interact with that data. So, as you design architecture and you embed technologies into environments, think about the technologies as different types of portals that can either serve as observation portals, connection portals, or proactive portals. Each of the different types of portals can be integrated into an architectural design to promote communication, and that integration into the design can surface as either an unexpected architectural design moment, or a planned and anticipated architectural design moment. So for instance, if you have an architectural feature wall that has a screen, an interface screen embedded within it, ask yourself, “How will my occupant be better served by connecting to an off-site event, person, or location by using this interface screen as a portal?

04:26 MLL: And which type of portal would best benefit my occupant in that moment? How does this interface screen, this technology portal, impact my occupants’ architectural experience or their architectural journey?” It’s important to remember as you design that technology portals used in this way can be used to teach knowledge to occupants. Portals can increase functionality of an environment for occupants. It can amplify beauty, and it can even deepen meaning for occupants. So, when you’re designing and integrating architectural technology, it may be helpful to think of embedding this technology as a portal. And you might ask yourself, how can technology be pushed further to promote the positive interaction between my occupants and off-site events, locations, or people that can connect to them through technology?


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 visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

maria lorena lehman, as seen in...
featured posts
Professional Practice

How to Create Competitive Advantage and Win Clients with Designs You Are Proud Of

There are a lot of architectural design firms out there, and everyone thinks their designs are unique. But clients are not just buying “good-looking” and unique designs that are functional; they care about building designs that bring value to their bottom line — helping their building occupants thrive.

Sense of Place

How to Make Design Innovation Stick by Unlocking Authenticity

Each project challenge comes with its own unique situation. Everything from a site analysis to an understanding of the surrounding culture is necessary to unlock what will make your architectural design stand authentically as a solution that is both innovative and complementary to the inherent context which came before. But how do you ensure that your design approach and subsequent solution is both innovative and authentic? Can both conditions exist at the same time?

Video Micro-Lectures

How to Avoid this Common Architectural Technology Integration Mistake when Designing

When designing, how do you avoid this common architectural technology integration mistake? In this Micro-Lecture, you will learn three steps to help you holistically inject emerging technologies into the environments you design. These steps serve to heighten your project's sensory design performance for occupants.