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Top 3 Ways to Grow Your Design Process to the Next Level

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

Image Credit: © Andreas160578 | Pixabay


Are your design projects evolving in quality over time? Or are your architecture project results the same from project to project? These are important questions to consider as you strive to innovate not only your architectural design project results, but also strive to position your firm on the leading-edge.

Those architects who do not evolve their design process (improving it over time) will eventually plateau; and thus, create environments that meet needs at more foundational levels but fail to reach highest level design poetics. But, how can you as an architect ensure that you are indeed evolving your design process so it improves with each new project?


The following are three critical ways by which to significantly heighten your design process results:

Technology Awareness: It is imperative that you as an architect awaken to both the opportunities and limitations of current and emerging new technologies. Yes, technology is changing and advancing rapidly and your ability to not only follow these changes, but to also guide these changes, will be a vital factor determining the success of your project’s results. For this reason, I invite you to research current and emerging technology’s strengths and weakness, and to actively think through how injecting such technologies into your environments will impact occupants. It is with the proper integration of emerging technology that architectural environments can evolve. However, if one is not aware of new technology or if that technology is not integrated well into an environment, the design will plateau. Thus, technology awareness becomes key to designing at the leading-edge.

Creative Intelligence: In order to grow as a designer, it is also vital to increase your own creative intelligence. For this, it is important to practice creative thinking to expand how you envision the design of environments for the 21st century. For example, it may help to ask yourself leading questions that prompt you to design solutions to 21st century occupant or urbanization challenges. To grow your creative intelligence you may also like to push your design mindset and skillset into new realms. For instance, try changing the medium by which you design architecture (from digital to hand-drawing, or visa versa). Growing your creative intelligence is a key factor to pushing your design abilities to the leading-edge. It may help to creatively journal about new ways to analyze, adjust, and optimize your design process so it does not plateau – but instead, results in increasingly extraordinary designs from project to project.

Poetic Orchestration: When designing an environment is important to meet occupant needs, but the design’s potential does not end there. What if your project could use multi-sensory design to help occupant’s reach their own goals that help them actualize their fullest potential? Architecture has the ability to do more than “house” functions. It can “nurture” function through beauty and meaning through an orchestration of the language of poetics. To grow your design process results for high level poetic design, I invite you to learn more about multi-sensory design to better understand how many aspects, including neuroscience, psychology, and even biophilia, work together to create a project that is more than the sum of its parts. In doing this, your architectural works will evolve from project to project, as each becomes a more elegant orchestration of spatial constructs that feed the senses.


It is my hope that you take time to improve your design process. For this is the root of your architectural projects’ level of success. Thus, I invite you to begin with the above three steps that will help you to tackle the core of what makes your design process work. After all, this is how your projects can evolve over time to reach those next highest levels.




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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