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How to Find a Challenging Design Solution When You’re Stuck

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

When you are working on an aspect of your design where you just don’t seem to be making headway on finding an elegant solution, try shifting to something else for a while — or if it’s the end of the day, simple leave it as what you will tackle first thing the next day. By leaving the design problem, think of it as still “facing you”. So, take a break or sleep on it overnight, and when you return to it the next day — the design problem’s solution will present itself to you. This works for me time and time again. For example, while building a model during a design stage, I would leave the unanswered portion of the design problem that was taking me too long to solve by literally facing the physical problem area toward my empty desk chair just before leaving studio. Sure enough, the image of it “facing me” allowed me to ruminate on the design problem even while I was away from the office. And sure enough, the answer would usually present itself to me upon my return.

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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 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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Design Process

Multi-Sensory Emergence in the Architectural Creative Process

The creative process is like a spring. You wind-up the spring to prepare for its release. When creating, I absorb in the world and explore internally (my wind-up), and then I have creative emergence (my release). And as I delve into my creative practice, I go back and forth between the two. How do you "absorb" as you prepare to "release" your creativity within your design solution?

Design Process

Hand-Drawing vs Digital-Drawing: How to See Your Design More Deeply

When analyzing the finished results between a hand-drawing versus a digital-drawing, the stylistic differences are easy to see. Both types of drawings can be very beautiful, if thoughtfully composed. Yet, a designer will think about what they are drawing very differently depending on which drawing process they use.

Guides

Design Process Mastery: The Architect's Guide

A design process definition can be explained as the creative and iterative methods one goes through in order to solve for a particular challenge, need, or goal. Within architectural design, one’s design process goes through various stages that begin with an initial creative vision that ultimately gets built as a building that occupants can use. The goal for architects is to optimize their design process in order to create the highest quality architectural design in the shortest amount of time, and within budget. The following is an architect's guide to design process.