The Design-Behavior Loop: How Occupant-Response Informs High Performance Design
Yes, architectural design evokes behavioral response within its occupants. And as an architect it is important to understand, analyze, and improve upon your design process and end-results. Thus, by delving more deeply into the ways your design impacts those that engage with it, you can ultimately gain information to help improve its outcome. The goal is to create environments that help people achieve fulfillment through high performance — so they can meet their short-term needs, and achieve their longer-term dreams and goals.
It may help to think about architectural design innovation and advancement through the lens of the “Design-Behavior Loop”. You see, design sparks behavior, and then behavior informs design. This loop can be applied to architectural works at many scales: from building to building within a city, or from moment to moment within a building. The key is to design, and then understand the response to that design. This understanding is what will inform your next design iteration to be better than your last. However, if you simply design without exploring its strengths and its weaknesses which become apparent in the way people respond over time — you may very well miss out on opportunities to improve and innovate your work.
Improvements made because of the “Design-Behavior Loop” will benefit not only the architectural environment, but also its occupants. It becomes a win-win situation. To better understand your design’s impact upon its occupants, you may need to interview them, observe them, survey them, or even use the environment yourself for some time. The insights you uncover will unlock ways in which you can strengthen your design process — to improve your portfolio exponentially as you simultaneously improve the lives of those impacted by your designs.
Thus, the “Design-Behavior Loop” can help your projects at all stages: (1) during concept design as you implement opportunities presented during previous projects, (2) during design development as you consider how you will analyze this project’s impact, and (3) during building occupancy as you delve into better understanding occupant response to your design. Of course, since this is a “loop”, this process can repeat indefinitely throughout your career, to improve your work from project to project — especially as new technologies, new discoveries, and new occupant needs surface.