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Journal of Design Insight

Behind the scenes into the studio works of Maria Lorena Lehman.
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Use Nature to Strengthen Your Design Solution

Learning from Nature Anew

Different architects use nature within their designs in different ways. While some gain inspiration from nature to influence a built form, others use nature to fuel the mechanisms within their design solution. Yet still, nature can be used to inform a design in real-time — as architecture gains greater fluidity through interactivity.

Whatever the case, nature is integrated into architectural design in a variety of ways. For instance, I invite you to take a...

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Boost Employee Productivity in Your Office Layout Design

Many people purposely seek out nature in order to experience its beauty and learn from it. Of course, for designers, biomimicry involves the understanding of nature as interpreted into design. But I ask, what are other ways that you can learn from nature to really push the way you think about what your occupants do within your buildings? And how can you use nature to find new ways to promote issues like learning and productivity within an office building and its office layout design...

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Reinventing Buildings with Biomimicry, My Pine Cone

How do you begin to model systems and processes that nature teaches? How do you translate your discoveries and breakthroughs to help in your design process, making you a better designer?

Well, I found a pine cone the other day. It was tiny, well formed, delicate at the tips and solid at the base. Yes, that is and of itself quite beautiful and enough to inspire most creative thinkers in their design efforts. However, we live in a day and age where, with nature, we can delve much...

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Will Biomimicry Buildings Reflect Their Surrounding Geography?

Yes, findings stemming from the worlds of science and technology are painting a new era that we are already beginning.

When cutting-edge paradigm-shifts occur, like new perspectives on nature that make methods like Biomimicry and BioDigital Architecture possible, I still wonder how these, combined with other factors like culture, globalization, personal preferences, lifestyle trends and geographic land characteristics will impact what we, as architectural visionaries,...

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BioDigital Architecture Uses Metaphor to Design Living Systems

As the relation between biomimicry, nanotechnology and new computing software evolves, a key design strategy surfaces — and a key aspect to that design strategy is BioDigital Architecture. In this branch of study and research, designers use different computer processes (algorithmic, for example) to grow architectural living systems. And these “living systems” are derived from, what Dennis Dollens describes as, metaphors of nature.

Designers can learn to...

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Take a Virtual Tour of this LEED Platinum Green Building

Sustainable Systems Working Together as a Whole

Light, water, temperature, air quality and renewable resources typically come to mind when talking about sustainable design, and to see these innovative green building issues tackled in one building project is wonderful.

In this article I am calling particular attention to the LEED Platinum rated Genzyme Center located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Within this building project designed by Behnisch, Behnisch &...

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Mastering Design Innovation to Build Green Skins

Unleashing Necessity and Your Ingenuity

The need to build green skins that are able to harness energy gives architects incentive to find new ways to use and guide emerging technologies. Essentially, it is necessity coupled with ingenuity that can often spark the best design innovation.

As an architect, it will help you to think about building skin and all of its possibilities in totally new and fresh ways. Instead of using building skin to “shield” or...

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10 Great Ideas for Designs that Promote Green Human Behavior

Richard Whitehall is an industrial designer and partner at Smart Design where he works to design what he calls “responsible behavior”. I found this great article, here, where you can see exactly what goes on daily at this industrial designer’s desk.

I like this article because within it are some gems that might help you design places for better occupant interactions. Here are some of his ideas that I think make his designs successful — really promoting green...

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High-Tech Ivy for Your Building Façade

This solar and wind project is unique because it takes technology beyond just being “tacked on” to a building. These micro solar panels mimic nature’s ivy, really bringing life to the otherwise redundant ways we typically see energy being stored.

Your building façade will be able to do even more…

The Grow project (still in the prototyping stage) is a solar and wind energy storage system used as cladding for exterior walls. Inspired by nature in...
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New Ways to Bring Nature into Architecture

BREAKING THE BOUNDARY

Usually, nature is thought of as something “outside”. But what happens when the line between “inside” and “outside” blur? How can we bring nature into architecture?

In his book Natural Architecture, Alessandro Rocca writes about the notion of architecture as “sheltering” us from nature. (1) In fact, his book Natural Architecture explains how nature can be “exposed” through design — to...

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