Journal of Design Insight

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The Evolution of Library Architecture

Libraries have been undergoing the need for a facelift ever since the introduction of the computing revolution. This type of institution is providing for more than simply the borrowing of books. New functions are defining how libraries serve their communities as they continue to emerge. Computer terminals with internet access and digital book inventory access are quickly becoming things of the past as even newer library programs surface. Libraries are evolving and surrounding communities are...

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Architectural Technology: Trade-offs and Imbalances

As architectural technology tries to solve one problem it often creates another. For example, as lighting illuminates it often also emits heat; therefore, making the HVAC system work harder. The systems seem out of balance as one trades off side-effects with another.

It appears that architectural technology is not yet highly efficient. Systems do not work together and as a result, occupants are deprived their optimal sensory experience. Take a hospital for instance: Often, patients must...

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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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Architectural Skin as a Design Bridge

Most building “skins” today are quite static. Instead of being a bridge that allows the exterior and interior to communicate, many building skins today serve to separate the interior from the exterior with only, if any, intermittent window openings. What if, instead, architects designed building skins to synchronize occupant environments with real-time occupant needs?

Jean Nouvel’s Institute of the Arab World in Paris (above) is an excellent example of how exterior walls can...

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MEMS for Interactive Architectural Design

MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) are tiny sensors that will embed within smart buildings, helping them reach greater interactivity. Already, such devices are projected to help buildings better interact with occupants. Keeping building environment climate thresholds equalized for individual occupants is one example of how MEMS can personalize buildings — but what are some other possibilities?

Perhaps such tiny and ubiquitous MEMS sensors could communicate with occupant clothing or...

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How Architecture Technology Interacts With You

When designing technology into architecture it must be integrated – not just to fit in with the aesthetic effects of the architecture, but to also fit into the narrative of the place. All too often, technology sits where conversations should spark. Computers, televisions and even lighting technologies should enhance the functions they support. 

Do you remember the last time you were in a dressing room and felt you looked terrible? Blame it on the lighting that feels like an...

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The Collective Effect of Architectural Technology

Architectural technology should enhance and even proactively promote the functions within an architectural space. All too often; however, systems detract from a space’s function, sometimes rendering the space temporarily or even permanently useless. For example, improperly synchronized lighting, HVAC and/or acoustical systems can make for “painful” architectural experiences –- particularly for patients in hospital buildings. To solve such problems, architects should...

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Designing Architectural Technology with Nature

Sometimes there is a fine line between technology and nature. That line can be as obvious as a window pane or as slight as an accent of green picked out in a textile pattern. There are many ways to integrate nature into an architectural design. For example, be conscious of your choices when selecting features like color and texture. After all, the human senses respond to certain color and texture palettes. 

Mirroring nature in just the right places can make architectural environments...

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Design Beyond Building Automation Systems to Provide Occupant Autonomy

Creating an Ever-Changing Architectural Story

The design of architectural environments factors for occupant function, aesthetics, and meaning — but how often does it allow for occupant choice. One of the powerful aspects of environmental design is when the occupant narrative is designed as a real-time and ever-changing journey. That is, occupants can travel through the architectural “story”, but can also choose which directions it takes.

The more adaptive and responsive...

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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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