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.


Nanotechnology: A Science Impacting Architectural Design

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

Nanotube | Image Credit: ©  Ynse | Dreamstime

We live in an age where scientific progress continues to transform human lifestyle. This is evermore true when it comes to the progress being made in the field of nanotechnology. This science stands to change and advance the practice of design in a multitude of ways – where architecturalprogress is being made at the molecular level.

The paper NanoBioBuilding: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, and the Future of Building by Dr. George Elvin states that “architects and other designers will become increasingly ignorant of the composition and consequences of the materials they use.” He explains that some designers are familiar with “self-cleaning windows” and “smog-eating concrete”, but only a handful of designers could state that titanium dioxide nanoparticles are responsible for these behavioral materials.(1) This is why it is so important for designers to keep informed of scientific developments.

A design area that will be influenced by nanotechnology is the smart environment. Here, tiny embedded nanosensors will make architectural features responsive. Communication will occur between object and object, between occupant and object, between object and environment and between occupant and environment. As new materials gain more transient properties, objects and architectural features will impact the process of design by making “fields of interaction” a major focus.(1)

By working on “fields of interaction” architecture professionals will have some framework by which to design for dynamic environments. Since smart architecture will be changing states and communicating heavily, architects will likely focus on relationships as much as they focus on designed forms during the design stage.(1) It is likely that both forms and their relationships will make up rule-based systems by which smart architectural spaces can function.

The science of nanotechnology continues to progress and the design field stands to benefit. As nanotechnology develops, new architectural techniques will surface. It is my belief that design creativity will reach new heights as innovative nanomaterials and nanosensors come together to give designers a renewed palette.


(1) Elvin, Dr. George. NanoBioBuilding: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, and the Future of Building. Green Technology Forum. 2006





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.