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Multi-Sensory Emergence in the Architectural Creative Process

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

Image Credit: © TheDigitalArtist | Pixabay

THE EMERGENCE OF CREATIVITY

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 alternate between the two.

How do you "absorb" as you prepare to "release" your creativity within your design solution? Emergence works very well, when a designer dives deeply into exploration, testing, and thinking about a design challenge and its possible solutions. Often, I will write, read, visit, talk, listen, and even prototype in efforts to "absorb". After all, the preparation to create directly feeds into the success of the creation.

MULTI-SENSORY ABSORPTION

In order to create architectural design solutions that feed the human senses poetically, it is important to “absorb” and prepare for creating from a multi-sensory approach as well. For example, when visiting an architectural site, do you explore the site logically using your intellect, or do you also explore the site through your senses? For example, there is a difference between measuring a site’s dimensions versus feeling a site’s changing seasonal colors, sounds, and textures.

By preparing for creative emergence with a multi-sensory absorption mindset and skillset, your architectural design solutions will have heightened poetic nuance, and even reach more transcendent levels. The key is to “absorb” many perspectives with a multi-sensory approach. For instance, it often is not enough to only explore an architectural site through one visit. One might also research, interview, sketch, model, or visit contextual places as well. In doing this multi-sensory preparation, your creative emergent architectural design solution will stand as even more poetically personalized to occupant needs and goals; thus, making it truly authentic.

EMERGENCE WITHIN ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

As you engage your design process to solve beautifully for an architectural challenge, you will pull from all of the “absorption” or preparation you conducted – this is design emergence. It is the way in which you compose your design solution that contains a unique convergence and harmonization between the parts that were prepared.  Often, your preparatory experiences, analysis, and discoveries will all emerge in the moment when your architectural design vision is born. While this vision will likely be developed further during future design development, it is emergence that sets the tone for your design’s “grand gesture”, upon which everything else is based.

I invite you to think about your own “absorption techniques” by which you prepare for the emergence of your design’s creative vision. How do you prepare to create?

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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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