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The Advent of Digital Environments that Pull from Sensory Design

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

Image Credit: © Dreamstime

Seth Godin recently wrote an article on “pre-digital environments” which I encourage you to read here. Now that you have read it, I ask you…how can you as an architect push advancement from this pre-digital age?

While it seems that much of what makes a place digital depends on the technology — I will tell you that is also depends on how the “design of place” works with that technology.

If the technology that makes a place “digital” is designed as an afterthought (not well integrated into the environment) it will likely have detrimental effects. On the other hand, if the technology that makes a place digital harmonizes with the architectural design, mountains can be moved to help occupants.

The linchpin in all of this is sensory design — which can guide the integration of technology with the environment for better occupant living. Sensory design is what can help to ensure that our transition from the pre-digital is humane.

In terms of hospital care, I agree with Seth Godin that the pre-digital can be “wasteful and dangerous” (as can be seen in many other building types as well). That is why the combination of sensory design with new architectural technologies is critical — to make sure that on our way to digital environments, we don’t create unneccessary chaos, noise, and disturbance. In this light, we’d just be trading one set of problems for new ones.

So, keep sensory design at the forefront as you make way for the digital in environments. In this way, environments will be safer, happier, more effective, and more efficient because you will have harnessed what sensory design and technology can do together.

Bring on the digital, but integrate with sensory design.

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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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