As environmental designers, it is important to keep an occupant-centered approach when creating those all-important creative concepts. And to achieve a high level of success with your building, once in-use, it is important to understand what your measure of success actually is for a project. There can be many metrics by which to gauge the success of an architectural design – productivity improvement within an office space, healing quality within a hospital, or even learning growth within a school. All of these can be metrics of success, but what about poetics? How can a design achieve spirit of place, and a poetic quality that uplifts occupants to transcend their experience into new levels of awareness?
Achieving a high poetic level within a design will foster a spirit of place if composed properly. In other words, your poetic architectural design can do more than uplift function. It can achieve high poetic synergy by fusing aesthetics, function, and meaning in such a way that occupants will feel one with themselves, with each other, and with their surrounding environment.
This feeling of “oneness” is not a new idea. In fact, I recently heard Dr. Jane Goodall explain how she experienced a feeling of oneness when she was completely surrounded by nature, and felt nature’s wholeness in the wonderful “tapestry” for the senses it exuded. (1) Just imagine, if architecture could do this through its poetics. Just imagine. Would you thrive within an environment that inspired you, evoked the sense of awe, and gave you a feeling of inter-connectedness with the world around you? Yet, you may ask: How can architecture do this?
A great architectural environment that exudes a spirit of place, and helps its occupants thrive as they feel connected at a higher level with themselves, each other, and their surroundings can be accomplished when you, as an architect, achieve synergy with the environmental stimuli that feeds into occupant senses. Again, just imagine. What if an architectural environment could pull from the lessons of nature? What if an architectural environment could be designed as a wonderful “tapestry” for the senses? This means that environmental designers would create new kinds of fluidity that create a journey for occupants as they experience the narrative of their designs.
To help you achieve these high levels of poetics during your current (or next) design project, it will help you to ask: How can I evoke the sense of awe, the sense of wonder, and the sense of inter-connectedness within my design? After all, whether you are designing an office building, a hospital, a school, or some other kind of building – it is wise to strive for that high poetic level in your work. When your occupant experiences the “feeling of oneness” in a place, they feel like they are meant to be there – whether their purpose is to work creatively, heal gracefully, or learn curiously. Strive for this within your environmental designs. Your occupants will thrive.
(1) Laberge, M. (2018) Earth Day 2018: How You Can Make a Difference Today and Every Day. Jane Goodall's Good News for All News. [Accessed April 22, 2018] http://news.janegoodall.org/2018/04/21/earth-day-2018-can-make-difference-today-every-day/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss
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