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Using New Mediums to Shift Architectural Paradigms

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

Image Credit: © Pexels | Pixabay


As an environmental designer, it is important to bridge between the worlds of theory and practice. Each pushes the other to deepen, by expanding boundaries and making new connections. Yet, there is an in-between mode where theory and practice fuse. This moment of fusion is of particular interest to me, and is where my design approach focuses.

As I work in this in-between with different artistic mediums to explore and capture the poetics of space, the years of design analysis, deconstruction, and methodological innovations help such theory and practice to converge. After all, once a poetic vision is captured as a design concept, there is much to not only experience from the work itself, but there is also much to learn about why the work was created and how it influences the future.


By exploring the poetics of space through writing, painting, and modeling or sculpting (digitally or by hand) – one discovers moments where space transcends to heighten human experience. The latter mediums are ways to capture this somewhat transient event; and through the act of capturing these, one can see more deeply into the dynamics of what makes a space transcendent.

In essence, one can see more deeply into the behaviors and influences of three-dimensional space (physical and/or virtual) when capturing it through different ways of seeing. For example, a photograph of a poetic space with filtered natural light can reveal something new, and never before experienced about an environment. And to push this example further, a painting can help one to inject new perspectives into how a space is designed and perceived. This is the power of art and design – to capture, explore, and shift poetics into new ways of experiencing the world.


How do you use new mediums and tools to innovate for new kinds of human experience? And is there a particular building, painting, sculpture, or digital visualization/experience that transforms how you experience the world each time you interact with its composition?




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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