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Journal of Design Insight

Behind the scenes into the studio works of Maria Lorena Lehman.
EXPLORE JOURNAL TOPICS

The Art of Seeing into Design

The link between art and design is blurring in my current architectural explorations. As you can see in the set of images above, I am engaging as artist to see more deeply into the environment as a designer. On the left, you can see a drawing I created while studying the root system of a tree. And on the right, you can see how I translate this root system into a speculative architectural design façade that seems as if to grow organically – as architectural form.

It is through...

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To Design Beyond Wellness, Think Rhythmically

DESIGN FOR ACTUALIZATION

What does it take to design environments beyond wellness? And how does one know when a design beyond wellness is reached? For this, it is important to look beyond the environmental design discipline – to reach into realms of poetics and human potential that shed light on what it means to design for thrivability.

Yes, environmental design has a responsibility to be aesthetic, functional, and even meaningful. Yet, it must not stop there. It is important to ask:...

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The Nature of Design — Symbiosis between Architecture and Nature

NATURE + INFRASTRUCTURE

As a humanity, we strive to live in harmony with nature; but what happens when our very innovations use technology in ways that hinder nature’s beauty and systems? For example, certain urban infrastructure technological innovations heighten air pollution. As can be inferred from this latter example, many of our urban innovations do a lot to improve life in the short term, but then emit side-effects that hinder life in the long term.

As environmental designers, we...

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How Architectural Poetics Improves Human Performance

ARCHITECTURE FOR A BETTER WORLD

With the design of each built environment, it is possible to help make the world a better place for individuals, the collective, and the planet. The key is to rise as architectural designers to create poetic architecture, not mere status quo buildings. You see, it is with poetic architecture that environmental design can awaken potential to nurture the self-actualization of those it serves.

Three key architectural effects impact building occupants through...

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The Fluidity of Nature in Architectural Response

ENVIRONMENTS THAT “BREATHE”

Nature is made of a multitude of rhythms, patterns, and cycles, and such relationships drive its dynamic fluidity. One can understand these relationships in nature as the water cycle, nitrogen cycle, and carbon cycles of respiration and photosynthesis. (1) But what do these natural rhythms, patterns, and cycles have to do with environmental design? A lot. You see, as emerging technologies continue to proliferate as they are ubiquitously embedded into...

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How to Enhance Your Design with a Creative Spark

DESIGN INSIGHT

How often do you capture a "creative spark"? The photograph above depicts a creative spark I had while formulating the concept for my next philosophical-design project. (It is a diagrammatic light study that I am now developing further by using 3D computer visualization techniques.) As you can see, this initial physical model is a quick handmade prototype to help yield proof of concept: built to see if this creative spark has depth for further development. The key when modeling...

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Do You Design Architecture "Beyond the Box"?

TRANSLATING DRIVERS THROUGH YOUR DESIGN PROCESS

As an environmental designer, how do you keep your creative edge sharp? In other words, what do you do to keep your design process fresh and innovative as it pulls from your experience, research, and skillset? When doing this as an architect, your creativity will be ever-expanding and your ability to think “beyond the box” will grow evermore genius.

Developing the ability to evolve your design process is critical not only to your...

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Structure of Gravity: The Rise of Architecture

Structure of Gravity | © Image Credit: Maria Lorena Lehman | MLL Design Lab, LLC

DESIGN INSIGHT

The above close-up section of a recent environmental drawing I created explores what I call the structure of gravity. This paradoxical term speaks to the bridging of architecture between the earth and sky – as built form rises upward as if to collaborate with the science of gravity through the structure of design expression. This piece invites one to consider the behavioral...

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Schematic Design – Using an Occupant-Centered Design Approach

INTRODUCTION: THE DEFINITION

Schematic design is the first stage of an architectural design project, and within this phase there are important milestones to get right that will greatly leverage the project’s results throughout the rest of its impending design phases. For example, by iteratively designing through various schematic prototypes, it becomes possible to optimize one’s design concept idea in a way that prevents future errors and expands the discovery of new design...

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Urban Architecture – A Design Process of Co-Creation

INTRODUCTION – ADAPTIVE URBAN ARCHITECTURE

Urban design within cities around the world has impact upon the citizens they serve. As environmental designers, it is important to continuously evolve how cities beneficially influence citizens as they live their daily lives within these urban areas. A critical way by which to accomplish this is to design urban architecture within such cities so they cooperate and collaborate together to yield a relationship of co-creation with their...

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