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 alternate between the two.
How do you "absorb" as you prepare to "release" your creativity within your design solution? Emergence works very well, when a designer dives deeply into exploration, testing, and thinking about a design challenge and its possible solutions. Often, I will write, read, visit, talk, listen, and even prototype in efforts to "absorb". After all, the preparation to create directly feeds into the success of the creation.
In order to create architectural design solutions that feed the human senses poetically, it is important to “absorb” and prepare for creating from a multi-sensory approach as well. For example, when visiting an architectural site, do you explore the site logically using your intellect, or do you also explore the site through your senses? For example, there is a difference between measuring a site’s dimensions versus feeling a site’s changing seasonal colors, sounds, and textures.
By preparing for creative emergence with a multi-sensory absorption mindset and skillset, your architectural design solutions will have heightened poetic nuance, and even reach more transcendent levels. The key is to “absorb” many perspectives with a multi-sensory approach. For instance, it often is not enough to only explore an architectural site through one visit. One might also research, interview, sketch, model, or visit contextual places as well. In doing this multi-sensory preparation, your creative emergent architectural design solution will stand as even more poetically personalized to occupant needs and goals; thus, making it truly authentic.
As you engage your design process to solve beautifully for an architectural challenge, you will pull from all of the “absorption” or preparation you conducted – this is design emergence. It is the way in which you compose your design solution that contains a unique convergence and harmonization between the parts that were prepared. Often, your preparatory experiences, analysis, and discoveries will all emerge in the moment when your architectural design vision is born. While this vision will likely be developed further during future design development, it is emergence that sets the tone for your design’s “grand gesture”, upon which everything else is based.
I invite you to think about your own “absorption techniques” by which you prepare for the emergence of your design’s creative vision. How do you prepare to create?
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