Journal of Design Insight

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How to Use Environmental Psychology for Better Design Solutions

How do you, as an architect, get to the bottom of what your occupants really need and want? Do you do this mostly be talking with them? Presenting different architectural design schemes to see which one they like best? Or do you study their behavior to understand what moves them with regard to the things that cannot be expressed by mere words?

I recently came across this quote that I thought might be an interesting place to begin a discussion about environmental psychology for...

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Going to Work in the Office Designs of Tomorrow

Productivity. Collaboration. Mobility. Globalization. Socialization. Culture.

Such are the buzz-words which describe the more modern workplaces of today. But where is this all going? And why?

One thing is for sure, computers are spreading. They seem to be everywhere. They’re getting smaller, more helpful and their interfaces are getting more intuitive. It’s no wonder that the surrounding environments which inhabit them now often allow for more mobility, productivity and...

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Why a Mental Map is Important for Architects to Understand

As an architect, you probably spend much of your time designing and preparing for programmatic functions and the aesthetic beauty to be experienced by future building occupants. But, did you know that your design ultimately is “interpreted” into what is frequently called the “mind’s eye”? Simply stated, this is a mental map that is said to be responsible for your own personal view-point and how you perceive the world.

The process behind the ...

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Should You Add Sound to Your Building Design?

It’s hard to find a quiet place on earth anymore. Human-caused noise seems to be everywhere, and that’s because it is. (1) Our living environments are “soundscapes”, and “noise” quickly becomes a relative term.

Yes, your architecture greatly contributes to the “soundscape” that people experience. Soundwithin your building is greatly linked with functions going on within it, but what about the design of sounds that you purposefully inject...

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Top 10 Tips to Great Museum Exhibit Design

DESIGNING A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE

When it is a great experience, going to a museum can teach us, delight us and inspire us; however, a lot of effort goes into a museum exhibit design. As architects, we can learn a lot by understanding the ingredients that make such designs so successful. It is not as simple as you might think.

A museum is constantly looking for different ways to attract visitors, but what happens once they get there? Often they suffer from three main problems — they...

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Architectural Psychology Explained

Architectural psychology can be described as a branch of environmental or ecological psychology. This deals with the psychological processes of the interaction between man and his environment, as for example spatial perception, spatial thinking, orientation behaviour, or spatial experience, territorial behaviour, living requirements and satisfaction, local identity. (1)

When an occupant experiences a building, they immediately become involved in an array of overlapping processes that all...

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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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Sensory Design: Lessons from a Tea Cup

“Architecture is basically a container of something. I hope they will enjoy not so much the teacup, but the tea.”
— Yoshio Taniguchi

This quote highlights why sensory design is indispensable. The act of enjoying the tea is fostered by the teacup just as sensory architecture enhances occupant experience. Both the teacup and sensory design must be sensitive to human needs.

With interactive design, a sensory teacup could integrate user sensory system factors like...

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Environmental Psychology: What Every Architect Should Ask Themselves

Understanding principles about environmental psychology will help architects to design with greater awareness. The following are ten important questions inspired by some of the major themes that make up the study of environmental psychology.

Although some may look simple at first glance, the questions are really quite complex as you delve into the inner-workings of human perception, cognition and behavior. The more you understand about how occupants interact with their environments,...

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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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