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How to Increase Building Performance for Occupants


Maria Lorena Lehman


Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy


Your building performance can be increased with careful design attention to how it interacts with its occupants. You see, by strategically designing architectural elements to positively influence occupant behavior — you will be creating architecture that helps its occupants to meet their goals. In turn, this increases your building’s value for occupants. In the this video, I will show you how to boost building performance for your occupants, so they’ll not only enjoy the environments that you create, but will also tangibly benefit from them as well.



00:01 Maria Lorena Lehman: I’m Maria Lorena Lehman, Founder of Sensing Architecture and the MLL Design Lab. In this video, I’m going to show you how to increase your building’s performance so that it can better serve its occupants. I’ll show you how to do this by increasing the influence that your building has upon its occupants, to make that influence a positive one, to help them achieve the ultimate goals that they would like to achieve, while experiencing your building.

00:39 MLL: So the question is how do we increase building performance for occupants? So to do that, we have architecture and we have occupants, and the two interrelate and impact one another. You see, oftentimes, architecture is static and occupants have to go to the architecture to obtain their learning. But now as architecture moves from flex design to interactive design to adaptive design, architecture is becoming increasingly able to go to occupants. So this cycle occurs where teaching and learning go back and forth between architecture and occupant. And each can improve because of the other. Now the important thing to notice here is that architecture is gaining in capability as it goes to the occupants.

01:40 MLL: And what does this mean? It means that interaction is becoming ever more potentially possible. Now with interaction, we have just in time design intervention. And what this does is it allows the architecture to intervene at just the right moment to influence occupant behavior and this can happen through the architectural design, through affecting occupant thought, physiology, emotion and even spirituality. And when strategically designed well, the architecture can influence occupant behavior, to help them achieve their end goals. So if you keep this in mind while designing, where your building performance can improve by helping occupants to not only meet their present time needs, but to help them use those needs to accumulate behaviors that lead them towards achieving their goal, building performance will increase dramatically.

02:48 MLL: If you’d like to learn more, I invite you to join my Design Insight Newsletter. And you will also get my book “Bringing Architecture To The Next Level” for free. Discover how you can shift your mindset to reach breakthrough ideas, meet and predict occupant need using sensory design, leverage your design process so you can get more with less, and re-think new technologies to unleash your innovative edge. To join now and access your book simply visit


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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