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How to Get Client Approval for Your Most Innovative Design Ideas

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

‍Image Credit: © 889520| Pixabay


As an architect, one of the most beneficial skillsets for you to develop is your ability to create truly innovative designs that your clients love. Over the years, I have heard about the huge challenge architects face as they strive to both innovate their design and “sell” those innovative ideas to their client for approval. Unfortunately, and often, their most innovative ideas get chiseled away because they do not pass the client review. Thus, many architects have told me that it is very difficult to break free from designing just another status quo building. They need the trust and approval of their client to see their most innovative ideas realized.


And it is here were multi-sensory design can help architects. You see, when designing it is critical to design innovatively, but in a way that keeps occupants at the center. When this is done, you as an architect, can use multi-sensory design to “connect-the-dots” during design presentations by mapping exactly how an innovative design idea becomes a design solution that will bring great benefit to the client’s bottom line.


For example, what if your innovative idea for a museum design is to decentralize the gift shop. This would create a very unique and memorable museum experience from a multi-sensory design perspective. And when presenting this unique innovative idea to your client, you could also position it as a solution to helping the museum bring in more revenue (which is what this client cares about). You see, multi-sensory design can be used to innovate architectural design ideas, but it can be pushed even further to turn those design ideas into innovative solutions. Such solutions create a win-win scenario where building occupants benefit, and clients benefit as well.

When designing, it is important to keep all of this in mind. You can use multi-sensory design to strategically innovate so you are enhancing and uplifting occupant experience, while also targeting client goals. To do this, you must find those design solution convergence points – where your innovative idea does more than renew a way of doing something aesthetically or functionally. Be sure to evolve the idea to target your client’s ultimate goals. And then, when presenting the idea, tie it back to why it is a solution that realizes their goals.

To learn how to do this in even more detail, please enroll in the Sensing Architecture Academy.


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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