Transience: Nature Holds this Key to Advancing Architectural Design

Nature Teaches Transience

Learning through nature is a wonderful way to design architecture drawing from nature’s inspirational and very ingenious solutions. Nature has so much to teach designers, and designers can extract an incredible amount of design information from nature.

In fact, nature inherently contains a very important quality from which the future of architectural design can pull. You see, design transience is a complex challenge that environmental designers must face as they strive to orchestrate stimuli within space. And that is something that we can learn from — the designed transience of nature.

You can just imagine how nature changes all of the time. It changes through its seasons, through the way a plant or flower develops, or even in the way the sun travels across the sky. Nature has much to teach designers, and by delving deeper into the way transience works in nature, architects can better integrate technologies and materials to synchronize with occupant needs in real-time.

Nature that Feeds the Senses

An example of transience in nature can be seen in the way a pine-cone works. You see, pine-cone petals open over time (at just the right time) to allow seeds to disperse optimally. In this way, you can begin to see how important timing is within nature.

Timing within architectural design is just as important. As environmental stimuli are perceived by building occupants, their order and timing greatly affects their impact upon that occupant. This is why design for the future of architectural technology involves the orchestration of stimuli. And for this there is much that can be learned from nature.

The natural environment has a way of feeding our senses in inspiring, beautiful, and meaningful ways. Architecture attempts to do this as well, but also uses aspects like technology and materiality to create unique and innovative experiences that could present nature in an entirely new light. By synchronizing the timing of environmental stimuli to meet the needs of occupants, one can begin to formulate an architectural design that is more personalized and meaningful.

A Renewed Design Methodology

As the need for architecture to become increasingly flexible, interactive, and adaptive progresses – new techniques for how to orchestrate stimuli will be born with each new architectural creation. Yet, to carve a path toward the realization of these types of architectures, I wrote the book entitled Adaptive Sensory Environments.

In this book, a new methodology is presented to help you as an architect better understand how to synchronize stimuli so that the timing of your architectural elements brings maximum benefit for occupants. Adaptive Sensory Environments teaches about how to pull from nature, position architectural technology, and use sensory design uplift occupant life for the better.

To learn more about Adaptive Sensory Environments (or to order the book), please visit

‍Image Credit: © fotomatrix | Fotolia


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