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How to Avoid this Common Architectural Technology Integration Mistake when Designing


Maria Lorena Lehman


Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy


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.


Micro-Lecture Transcript

How do you avoid this common architectural technology integration mistake? This is a mistake that often detracts from the sensory design that you're trying to inject into an environment to uplift its functionality and performance for occupants.

I am Maria Lorena Lehman, Founder of the MLL Design Lab and of the Sensing Architecture Academy, and in this Micro-Lecture we're going to explore three key steps to avoid conflicting technology within your design.

Now, when technology conflicts within an architectural design, it can again detract from the very functionality that you're trying to uplift within the space. For instance, a simple window might be casting glare on a television or monitor that someone might be trying to watch. In this case, the first step to take to avoid conflicting technologies within your environment is to eliminate the negative impact of technology side effects. This means taking a look at the technology that you are integrating and this means --- yes, looking for opportunities that it creates, but also looking for side effects like glare from a window, or noise from a HVAC air duct. In other words, what are those sensory side effects that could potentially detract from the environment and its functionality for occupants within your space?

Now, step two is to eliminate the negative impact of side effects. And you do this by studying their timing as well as their location in relation to other technologies within the space. For instance, you might want to know when that noise is being emitted from that HVAC air duct and how that noise might impact a presentation within the room, or television watching, or conversations that might be going on within the space. Also, you might want to explore the timing of these events within the environment to make sure that the technologies are not conflicting with one another through their various side effects --- which again, create these problematic symptoms for occupants.

Now, step three is to delve into the occupant behavioral patterns within your space, so this entails uncovering any alignment issues. This refers to alignment that is not just in physical location, but that exists in terms of timing. So, you'll want to look at what behaviors and what functionalities are going on within the environment for your occupants.  What activities are they engaging in and how much is the technology detracting from those functionalities? So take a look at those types of behaviors and how they affect one another.

And then finally, you can flip this on its head and look at technology from the lens of opportunity as well. Instead of looking for side effects which are symptomatic and painful for occupants --- look at side effects as opportunities. Look for ways that technologies can work with one another to uplift the space from a sensory design perspective.

I hope this helps you to integrate technologies in a more holistic way that uses sensory design principles to help you uplift the performance of your environment for your occupants.


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 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.

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