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The Promise of Multi-Sensory Design to Solve for Your Project Challenges

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

‍Image Credit: © armo | Fotolia

Finding Design Solution Alignment

In an architectural design project, there is often a core problem that the design needs to solve ― followed by secondary and tertiary problems that also need design answers. When creating your design concept, how do you find that “convergence point” where your design solves for all of these problems, limitations, and requests while still preserving the integrity and authenticity of your design idea?

Perhaps your design idea is driven by the design challenges. Or perhaps your design idea challenges those project problems, limitations, and requests by providing such a quantum leap in architectural experience that it makes those challenges disappear.

Well, there is a way to solve for the multitude of project challenges that confront you as an architectural designer. And finding this “sweet spot” in design feels great!

Have you ever created a design solution where everything simply aligns? This is the type of solution that solves for the project’s core design problem, while also exceeding design expectations by integrating innovative ideas that push the design to the next level. At times, this type of design solution is obvious, but at other times this type of design solution can take much iteration to achieve.

The Promise of Multi-Sensory Design

A key to finding a design convergence point that solves for many of the challenges your project faces is to place your building occupants at the center. From here, it becomes possible to innovate architectural experience while also overcoming the difficult project challenges that exist. You see, occupant-centered design calls for you as an architect to find the convergence point through your concept design idea that makes the experience of your environment a nurturing one. This means that your design concept features are to be created from a multi-sensory design perspective where, like a solved puzzle, stimuli comes together within your design to lift occupant experience.

Seeing your project’s design challenges, limitations, and requests through a multi-sensory design lens will help you to cut through all of the time-wasting and cost-wasting ideas, to get to the design features that solve for your project’s challenges in the most direct way. You will be able to see not just how to design solutions, but you will also better understand why those solutions work. In other words, you may know that it is important to have good lighting in a hospital room, but understanding the patient experience will help you to design for the nuances of lighting design to promote healing.

Multi-sensory design can take your project design solutions to new levels, through alignment. Instead of simply piecing together latest state-of-the-art technologies and fragmented design ideas ― multi-sensory design will help you to unify these concept features, giving them real reason for being. And when orchestrated in just the right ways, multi-sensory design will not only help you to meet the project challenges faced, but will also help you to innovate experience; thus, giving your designs a strong and meaningful foundation upon which to build your leading-edge architecture.

To delve more deeply into multi-sensory design strategies and research that will open your eyes to what multi-sensory design can do when fused within architecture, simply visit


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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