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Use Resourceful Architecture Techniques to “Pre-Experience” Design for the Senses

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

Image Credit: © Hans_van_Rijnberk | Flickr

What do you do when your architectural design tool won’t allow you to test your design for the senses? How do you know that you are creating the best design for your future building occupants? What architecture techniques will you use?

Well, we all know that there is a multitude of modeling software out there to keep you refining your design — to present it not only to yourself, but to reviewers and clients. And with this software, you can come close to modeling architecture for the different parts of the senses. You can use software like 3DStudio Max to visually see what is going on; you can model sound using acoustic modeling software. But —what about touch? And smell?

Well, much can be gathered through the eyes about touch and smell. After all, you can infer that a textured looking wall might be rough to touch. Also, you pull from previous experience about what certain elements will feel and smell like. And from there, you begin to formulate and model a design concept — to better understand its intricacies, problem areas, and winning solutions.

Also, for your design you can specify materials and interact with samples. So in the end, you can account for the classical senses by using different architecture techniques — whether software based, experience-based, or real-world material based.

Thus, the whole point of this article is to remind you (the architect) to not only think about the senses of your future building occupants that perceive the building, but to also think about your own senses as you create your design.

Don’t always rely on one tool to “see” how your design is shaping up for its occupants. Be resourceful. Explore. And use your own senses to “pre-experience” what you are designing for your future building occupants.

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NEXT STEP: YOUR DESIGN PARADIGM SHIFT

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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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