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Finding Purpose: The Mission Behind Your Design

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

‍Image Credit: © ijmaki | Pixabay


Why do you do the work you do? As an architect, is there a specific threshold you are trying to cross with your design creations? Or are you simply designing building after building to meet basic needs, without giving much thought to what contribution your designs are making?

It is important for you, as an architectural designer, to bring your designs to that next level – where they push boundaries for better innovation. Perhaps you aim to have your design harmonize and re-present nature in ways never experienced before. Or, perhaps your goal is to create architectural experiences for people that change their lives for the better in numerous ways. Really, you may want to ask yourself: “What drives me to create at the highest level?” This becomes an important aspect of your “WHY”.

Finding the purpose or mission behind your design is a very empowering feeling, as it can motivate you to serve others at higher quality levels with your work. Paradoxically, work feels much less like “work”, when you are designing in alignment with your “why” – since you are more driven with true passion for making a difference in the world.


The purpose (or the “why”) behind your work can fuel you to push it to that next level, and this will impact the creative vision you formulate from project to project. Your “why” (or your design purpose) becomes a lens by which to see your creative vision, as you strive to push your designs to meet your overarching goals. Forming a meaningful creative vision will bring great benefit not only to you as the architectural designer, but also for the people that your designs serve.

You will find that your design decision-making all revolves around your purpose. And if you do not yet have a well-defined purpose behind your designing, you may notice that you are not advancing and progressing to those highest quality levels with your designs.

Today, I invite you to give thought to your purpose – the reason “why” you design architecture. Finding that driving mission behind your designs will give you new direction, insight, and motivation to unlock your design process into new visionary realms. To begin discovery or formulation of your “why”, simply begin writing. This activity will greatly help you to simultaneously unlock your deeper design purpose, while also helping you to position yourself to make smarter decisions while designing in the future.


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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