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How to Design Interactive Architecture to Foster Occupant Collaboration

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Introduction

In this Micro-Lecture, you will learn how to shift the way you think about the design of interactive architecture --- so it can foster new levels of collaboration among building occupants. Watch the following presentation to learn mindset formulas, and design drivers to guide your design explorations.

 

Micro-Lecture Full Transcript

00:06 Maria Lorena Lehman: This is Maria Lorena Lehman, founder of the Sensing Architecture Academy and of the MLL Design Lab. In today's micro-lecture, we are going to dive into how to design interactive architecture to foster collaboration between occupants. First, you will want to think about technology when you are designing: Think about how you can use technology in new and innovative ways that push boundaries so that the architecture is no longer just engaging one person, but acting as a bridge that connects people with one another. Now, architecture can connect people in different ways. There are all sorts of different formulas by which it can do this. For instance, occupants can engage and interact and impact the building itself. Then, occupants can also engage with one another, and together can impact the building. And also, occupants can impact and engage with the building, that, in turn, impacts other occupants. So you can think of this through different formulas, through different lenses, so that your design and architecture can really have a positive impact --- not just upon one person and one occupant, but upon a group of people and the way that they interact with each other…all because of the way your environment is fostering and engaging that collaboration.

01:39 MLL: So there are different applications by which architecture can foster such collaborations. You might want to think about these as you design any building type. But, the first example is learning. For instance, visitors in a museum can experience the environment, and the environment can engage them to interact with one another through the different exhibits and positioning of those exhibits. Such a museum design can have an interactive floor that uses technology in a new and exciting way. Or it can have collaboration tables that present artifacts in a museum through a hands-on learning experience that invites occupants and visitors to collaborate and learn with one another. Students in a school can engage with one another as they learn as well. Perhaps the interior architecture allows for this type of collaboration as they are learning.

02:39 MLL: Another example can be seen in the workplace, where teamwork is fostered through interactive architectural designs. Perhaps within the workplace, workers within meetings can use technology in new and innovative ways to brainstorm and create productive and efficient, creative, unique solutions that solve for their workplace challenges. Another example is in healing environments. Interactive architecture can help with patient healing in health care settings, for example. For instance, the architecture can help the medical staff to work with the patient to help them heal and progress toward recovery and ultimately toward prevention from a relapse of their illness.

03:34 MLL: So as you can see, applications for interactive architecture, that foster collaboration, are important aspects to your environment to get right, because your architecture isn't just affecting one occupant or a group of occupants individually and independently; it is also affecting them as they interact with one another. Thus, a tip to help you design in this way is to think about improving the paradigm of how environments engage with people. Think beyond the boundaries of where architectural designs are today. Think about technology in interactive terms and in terms of how it can help the environment to engage with people --- not just one occupant or a group of occupants, but where and how it acts as a bridge that gets people to interact with one another in beneficial ways.

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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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