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Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Maria Lorena Lehman

Maria Lorena Lehman is Founder of the Sensing Architecture ® Academy and Author of 'Adaptive Sensory Environments'.

about me

Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary architectural author, designer, and educator focusing on links between architectural design, science and new technologies. Lehman is the Founder of the Sensing Architecture ® Academy and Author of Adaptive Sensory Environments. She is recipient of the Harvard University Digital Design Prize, and holds degrees from both Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Maria Lorena Lehman is internationally published and in numerous periodicals, including The Architect's Journal, Esquisses Magazine, Architect Magazine and Forbes.

my latest posts
Design Process

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

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

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 the following 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.

Architectural Design

How to Design for Architectural Flow

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Architectural flow is a higher-level poetic goal to reach as you design environments. After all, there is a significant difference between a building that houses a variety of independent functions that co-exist near one another versus a building that fosters functions that harmonize with each other as each leverages the other. This is an important characteristic of architectural flow – where an occupant narrative emerges from a well-designed environmental narrative.

Architectural Design

How to Design Environments beyond Function to Reach a New Level of Poetics

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Designing occupant-centered architecture calls for designers to think about environments as providing more than mere comfort. For architectural design, this means striving to reach beyond functionality within your solution. Together with function, aesthetics and meaning must be fused. But how do these all work together to yield new kinds of poetics that innovate occupant experience to uplift quality of life for the better?

Design Process

How to Leverage the Future of Architectural Concept Design

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

What will the future of the architectural design process bring? Will you carry forward your trusted design methods while also injecting the opportunities that emerging design technologies bring? As a forward-thinking designer, I invite you to consider what your own future design process could be like, with the continual development of augmented/virtual reality, prediction algorithms, and faster global communication.

Architectural Design

Design at the Edge of Architectural Perception

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

What happens when an environment is purposefully designed to bring occupants to the “edge of perceptional boundaries”? The Nyx project by Alberto Caiola Studio presents a “hand-drawn architecture of light” located in Shanghai, China. This rooftop bar plays with one’s visual perception as it transiently shifts between abstraction and reality with its 21,000 meters of UV reactive cord that glows blue within the black light.

Design Process

Multi-Sensory Emergence in the Architectural Creative Process

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

The creative process is like a spring. You wind-up the spring to prepare for its release. When creating, I absorb in the world and explore internally (my wind-up), and then I have creative emergence (my release). And as I delve into my creative practice, I go back and forth between the two. How do you "absorb" as you prepare to "release" your creativity within your design solution?

Design Process

Hand-Drawing vs Digital-Drawing: How to See Your Design More Deeply

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When analyzing the finished results between a hand-drawing versus a digital-drawing, the stylistic differences are easy to see. Both types of drawings can be very beautiful, if thoughtfully composed. Yet, a designer will think about what they are drawing very differently depending on which drawing process they use.

Guides

Design Process Mastery: The Architect's Guide

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

A design process definition can be explained as the creative and iterative methods one goes through in order to solve for a particular challenge, need, or goal. Within architectural design, one’s design process goes through various stages that begin with an initial creative vision that ultimately gets built as a building that occupants can use. The goal for architects is to optimize their design process in order to create the highest quality architectural design in the shortest amount of time, and within budget. The following is an architect's guide to design process.

Architectural Design

3 Ways to Use "Meaningful Freedom" within Architectural Design to Nurture Creativity

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Creativity within architectural design dives deep to not only create an experience that fulfills, but also nurtures occupants to engage in activities that bring new ideas, new solutions, and new or improved processes. An architectural space that successfully evokes occupant creativity is one where each occupant can feel “meaningful freedom” within which to do their most authentic thinking.

Virtual Reality

Virtual / Augmented Reality as Architectural Sensory Experience

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

The question remains: Can virtual reality be an architectural sensory experience? As you ponder the answer to this question, it is important to think first about how to define an architectural sensory experience.

Reviews

The Sensorial Designs of Claudio Silvestrin: Minimalism as a Catalyst of Deeper Expression

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

To experience the latest book by Claudio Silvestrin is to experience architecture on a more spiritual level. The book is entitled Claudio Silvestrin’s Timeless Italian Style Architecture Design Philosophy, and as I turned the pages to consciously experience his work, I savored the moments as they evoked peace, joy, and even spiritual sensibility.

User Experience

How Environment Design Impacts Human Performance

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Even as you formulate the initial schematics for your architectural concept design, it is wise to comprehensively research not only what your occupant thinks they need now, but also how they would like to grow: physiologically, intellectually, emotionally, behaviorally, and even spiritually. This will help you to grasp how the environmental design’s behavioral language needs to adapt.

Adaptive Architecture

What if Architecture Fused with Game Design?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Is all of life a game-like journey? Or is the journey more of an experiential process with no real end-goal? Whatever life seems to be at a given moment, it is interesting to consider what physical environments would be like if they were designed with a gaming mentality.

Virtual Reality

How to Leverage Virtual Reality (VR) Within Your Design Process

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

I invite you as an architectural designer to unlock the power of 3D to 4D visualization. Going from 3D visualizations to interactive 4D immersive VR experiences of your design projects (with sound) will convey your concept ideas better by making your multi-sensory design interventions come to life in more tangible ways.

Adaptive Architecture

How to Create an Architectural Meta-Experience

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

What if an architectural environment could change, learn, and adapt to help occupants as they live, work, heal, or play within a given space? Furthermore, what if such an environment allowed visitors to leave their own “mark” within its design fabric, so future occupants could perceive what came before? Such a malleable architectural environment, would work as if it were a fluid sculpture – able to absorb and preserve a “fingerprint” while still being able to respond to current and future needs and goals.

Design Creativity

5 Smart Ways to Start Your Creativity Practice

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

How often do you work to improve your creativity? You see, creativity is like a muscle, and it must be exercised for you to become a quick and smart design thinker and decision-maker. The key is to know how to push yourself into new “creativity zones” where you can learn to shift paradigms, use new tools, unlock new processes, and even find new ways of working with your team.

Author Quotes

How to Create Life-Changing Architecture

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

How can you push your architectural design to help uplift the lives of your occupants in transformational ways? This may call for you to more deeply understand multi-sensory design and emerging technologies, so you can make smarter design decisions while creating environments.

Design Process

How Design Fiction Can Help Your Design Iteration Process

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

As an environmental designer, it is important to make smart design decisions during your creative process – at all stages. This is where the practice of design fiction can be injected into your process, to help you formulate not just one design solution that you iterate; but a variety of possible solutions that you can compare, test, or explore quickly at the beginning of your concept formulation process.

Design Creativity

How "Unbuildable" Design Concepts Can Advance the Architectural Discipline

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

In history, there have been times when an “unbuildable” concept, only realized on paper, was paradigm shifting – as such concepts served to shift the mindset of the people toward greater innovative possibilities for the future. I still find it fascinating to see these “unbuildable” concept drawings from yesteryear, and then to think about how our current “unbuildable” concepts will impact the future of our present time.

Technology

How to Learn from the Future to Become a Design Pioneer

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

As is typical with the present-time, we are always in the midst of emerging trends. For designers, this means either following the trends or setting new ones by being well ahead of the curve. Environmental design is no different. As advancing technologies like virtual reality lead to augmented realty, or as interactive physical space leads to adaptive physical space, it becomes fascinating (and necessary) to question where these technological developments are heading.

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featured posts
Design Process

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

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 the following 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.

Architectural Design

How to Design for Architectural Flow

Architectural flow is a higher-level poetic goal to reach as you design environments. After all, there is a significant difference between a building that houses a variety of independent functions that co-exist near one another versus a building that fosters functions that harmonize with each other as each leverages the other. This is an important characteristic of architectural flow – where an occupant narrative emerges from a well-designed environmental narrative.

Architectural Design

How to Design Environments beyond Function to Reach a New Level of Poetics

Designing occupant-centered architecture calls for designers to think about environments as providing more than mere comfort. For architectural design, this means striving to reach beyond functionality within your solution. Together with function, aesthetics and meaning must be fused. But how do these all work together to yield new kinds of poetics that innovate occupant experience to uplift quality of life for the better?