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The Reason to Make Your Architectural Design Radiate

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

Image Credit: © batintherain | Flickr

Your architectural design reverberates.

Yes, architecture maintains walls made up of materials and even wayfinding systems that convey important information; but, the beauty and function that radiates from an incredible architectural work into the soul of those that experience it is often the culmination of seemingly invisible effects exuded by that designed “place”.

Pay much attention to the “invisible” and “intangible” effects which your designs radiate, as these things can make or break your building. You might be completely up to code, meet all programmatic requirements and even have reached a certain level of aesthetic beauty with your building design — but do you know what cumulative effects your building design will have upon its occupants over time?

Try to capture those qualities about architecture that radiate into the lives of its occupants — whether they spend every day going into your building for years or they only spend minutes there once in there lives. On the drawing board the “invisible” may be a bit hard to “see”, but hone this skill because occupants will notice if you don’t.

I challenge you to go beyond designing for a building that will only be “used”. Design for one that will be “experienced” to its fullest — no matter how large or small the project.

For now, I will leave you with this passage from the book aptly entitled Experiencing Architecture (my affiliate link):

“… [M]ost people would say that as architecture does not produce sound, it cannot be heard. But neither does it radiate light and yet can be seen. We see the light it reflects and thereby gain an impression of the form and material. In the same way we hear the sounds it reflects and they, too, give us an impression of form and material. Differently shaped rooms and different materials reverberate differently.”
— page 224, Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen

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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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