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Use Architecture Techniques to “Pre-Experience” Design for the Senses

What do you do when your architectural design tool won’t allow you to test your design for the senses? How do you know that you are creating the best design for your future building occupants? What architecture techniques will you use?

Well, we all know that there is a multitude of modeling software out there to keep you refining your design — to present it not only to yourself, but to reviewers and clients. And with this software, you can come close to modeling architecture for the different parts of the senses. You can use software like 3DStudio Max to visually see what is going on; you can model sound using acoustic modeling software. But —what about touch? And smell?

Well, much can be gathered through the eyes about touch and smell. After all, you can infer that a textured looking wall might be rough to touch. Also, you pull from previous experience about what certain elements will feel and smell like. And from there, you begin to formulate and model a design concept — to better understand its intricacies, problem areas, and winning solutions.

Also, for your design you can specify materials and interact with samples. So in the end, you can account for the classical senses by using different architecture techniques — whether software based, experience-based, or real-world material based.

Thus, the whole point of this article is to remind you (the architect) to not only think about the senses of your future building occupants that perceive the building, but to also think about your own senses as you create your design.

Don’t always rely on one tool to “see” how your design is shaping up for its occupants. Be resourceful. Explore. And use your own senses to “pre-experience” what you are designing for your future building occupants.

Image Credit: © Hans_van_Rijnberk | Flickr

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Now It's Your Turn. Share Your Insights!

I now invite you to share your insights and a-ha moments in the comments below. How has this article helped you to see more deeply into architectural design? What did you learn that will make you an even better architect? And how will you apply what you discovered to your own work?

I look forward to learning more about you and your work!

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