Journal of Design Insight

Behind the scenes into the studio works of Maria Lorena Lehman.
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Making a Positive Difference with Environments for the Aging Occupant

Today’s article targets getting you to think about environment and memory, particularly for the aging population. As you design buildings within which the aging live, do you take time within your design process to think about solutions that will help them with their “aging” brains — thus, assisting them with certain aspects of their lifestyle, like suddden confusion, a missplacing of the keys, or other distracted behaviors?

You have often heard me speak about...

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Honing Lifestyle Architecture for Urban or Country States of Mind

By simply looking at Japan’s subway system in the image above, would you imagine that a person living in this type of city would respond differently to stress as compared to a person living in the countryside? Well, research is indicating that there may just be differences between urban and city dwellers, involving how they handle stress. And furthermore, such differences may be most prominent when considering where a person grew up: whether in an urban or country area. (1)

Thus, when...

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Can Architectural Symbols Help Occupants with Recalling Memory?

In recent lab tests, studies are showing that it is possible to replay memories within a rat’s brain to restore its memory. By using an implant, signals are sent to the hippocampus part of the brain by recording and replaying electrical activity of neurons. (1) Here is a brief excerpt describing this process a bit more:

This implant operates on the same principles as other neural prosthetics, communicating with the nervous system using electrical signals. Instead of sending signals from...
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How the Sense of Touch and Sound in Architecture Impacts Design Intent

Studies are being carried out that suggest that the brain uses vibration (touch) and frequency (sound waves), in a manner that unites these two senses. This means that if a person is good at sensing touch vibrations, then they are also good at hearing sound frequencies — and vice versa. Thus, the senses of touch and sound in architecture are linked, and you as an architect can use this information to make your building designs even better.

I would like to think that architects...

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Can Occupant Travel Speed Determine How They Remember Your Building?

Architects often look at where their occupants travel within their building, what makes them decide to go wherever they are going, and what behaviors they engage in once they arrive. But what actually happens to building occupants as they move through your building? Does the speed at which they move through your building have impact on their experiences while they are there? And upon how those experiences are remembered?

In a recent research article published by Science Daily, it...

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How Eye Tracking Gives Insight to Embedding Design Choice

An interesting finding involving one of the ways in which people decide to take action, can be traced back to how long a person spends looking at each of the choices. As was reported in an article by Scientific American, called Buying Odds Increase for Products That Are Looked at Longer, shoppers within a store that are trying to decide between two items will ultimately choose the item which they looked at longest. By tracking their subject’s eye movements, researchers...

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How a Building System Can Optimize Occupant Brain Power

As you design for your building occupant’s age, should you as a designer get more detailed and perhaps more personalized by understanding and incorporating information about your occupant’s brain age — or brain power, strengths and weaknesses between their networked connections? (1) After all, “age” as we know it today is a relative term, a catchall within which so many occupant characteristics are lumped together. But what if we as designers could...

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Achieve Better Home and Hospital Design by Focusing on Occupant Sleep

When it comes to architectural design, most emphasis is placed on what happens within buildings while occupants are awake, active and being productive as they engage in their wide range of daily human behaviors. But as an architect, you must step back and ask yourself what makes all of this activity and behavior possible for your occupants? What helps them to maintain their proper amount of focus and energy while also being creative and productive as they engage in their daily activities...

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Your Building Design Can Trigger Profound Occupant Emotional Memory

There is very interesting research going on right now which is indicating that there could be neural connections in the brain “between the senses (hence, sensorial stimuli) and intense memories”. (1)

Instinctively, do you know such connections exist? Have you ever listened to a song and instantly been transported back to a certain time and place in your memory that this song seems to be unexplainably linked to? Or have you ever walked into a room that has a certain smell...

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How the Sense of Touch Can Drive Occupant Decision-Making

In a recent Boston Globe article entitled Researchers Say Sense of Touch Guides Impressions, it was found that the sense of touch really is an important factor when it comes to perception. As you may already infer, we all seem to use an initial impression of something to form a judgment — which, when needed, helps us make a decision. (1) But what factors do we all rely on when we are in the midst of making that decision, and forming a judgment?

Not surprisingly, this is...

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