contact maria lorena lehman

send your message

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

spECIAL MASTERCLASS: Design concept formulation


Join Now to learn my HPA Design Formula to improve your architectural design concept formulations. This formula will help bring your mindset, skillset, and project design results to new heights. Plus, get the Design Insight Digest, FREE.


Learn How to Orchestrate Your Architectural Elements

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

Image Credit: © MarcelGermain | Flickr

Yes, I often write that you should think about the senses, materiality and so on. But I would like to emphasize that as an architect you are a “director” of sorts. It is important to learn how to synchronize and orchestrate all of those architectural elements to create the experience you intend.

As an architect, once you get a good grasp on how the human senses really work and really develop a high design skillset, you should always be concerned with synergy and orchestration.

Here is what I mean…

Lighting + Material = Redefined Form

The equation I just made up above is an example of how powerful (and simple) this idea can be. Take a building like the Torre Agbar in Barcelona and you will get a notion of what I am talking about.

Using technologies to enhance, minimize or morph your architectural elements can be a very effective technique. Most architects today simply “add-on” new technologies to their design. Kind of like the architect said “I’ll include this because I can.” The result is that it is not well integrated and does not do much for the design. In some cases, it actually makes the design worst.


Take the simple equation that I wrote above and get this to challenge and push the way you think when you are designing a building. Ask yourself about what other technologies you could insert into the “lighting” variable shown above. Also, question what other architectural element types you could insert into the “material” variable shown above.

Although the “Redefined Form” variable in the equation above may not physically move or morph, your technologies often can. Think of ways to integrate new technologies into your architectural design to help bend, enhance, texturize, highlight or soften architectural elements.

Think about how doing this will make the building a better experience.





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
read more testimonials
journal article collectionsresearch designs

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.

maria lorena lehman, as seen in...
featured posts
Urban Design

Urban Architecture – A Design Process of Co-Creation

To view urban architecture as the result of a design process of co-creation fundamentally shifts how it can be used to bring higher levels of thrivability to citizens. By integrating citizen ideas, behaviors, and experiential insights into how such urban systems and elements adapt, the city becomes a more joyous, peaceful, healthier, and inspiring place to live. This is how urban architecture can help cities to reach these higher levels – by pulling from the wisdom and ingenuity of its citizens through its buildings, that together act as a bridge that opens communication between people and city.

Design Process

Schematic Design – Using an Occupant-Centered Design Approach

Schematic design is the first stage of an architectural design project, and within this phase there are important milestones to get right that will greatly leverage the project’s results throughout the rest of its impending design phases. For example, by iteratively designing through various schematic prototypes, it becomes possible to optimize one’s design concept idea in a way that prevents future errors and expands the discovery of new design opportunities.

User Experience

How Architectural Poetics Improves Human Performance

With the design of each built environment, it is possible to help make the world a better place for individuals, the collective, and the planet. The key is to rise as architectural designers to create poetic architecture, not mere status quo buildings. You see, it is with poetic architecture that environmental design can awaken potential to nurture the self-actualization of those it serves.