Journal of Design Insight

Behind the scenes into the designs of Maria Lorena Lehman.
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Can Modular Design Increase Your Building’s Potential?

I am intrigued by this quote about modular design:

“A downside to modularity (and this depends on the extent of modularity) is that modular systems are not optimized for performance. This is usually due to the cost of putting up interfaces between modules.”(Wikipedia source here)

At first glance, modularity can give you ways to expand, re-locate or even provide for more mass customization opportunities within your work. And in some cases, modules can have such distinct...

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How to Use a Cliché to Make Your Building Design Work

I recently read an article by Seth Godin who describes a very powerful writing technique where an author takes a popular and widely used cliché, points it out in his or her work and then writes about its exact opposite. When done cleverly this can produce a very powerful result whether an author is trying to stir humor, thought, emotion or even trying to change a reader’s belief or behavior.

As architects, we should take a cue from this author’s...

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Can Flexible Design Get You to the Cutting-Edge?

What can flexibility do for you?

Let’s exaggerate for a moment and see if we can make what is flexible, even more flexible. The goal is to get you to push some design boundaries and of course, to use the idea of “flexible design” to get your architecture to that “cutting-edge”.

Of course, there is a find line between extreme flexibility and that ultimate point where something just breaks. But for now, let’s take a look at the following list which...

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Rethink “Transition” to Unleash A New Kind of Design Fluidity

As new emerging technologies surface, the idea of “transition” will take on entirely new form. Not only will “transition” continue to exist between building materials (like you see in buildings today), but “transition” will also be present within a material’s properties — changing the very nature of how a particular material behaves at any given time.

For instance, smart materials will be able to change in real time as...

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Music, Experience and Your Architectural Designs

Can Music Increase Your Potential?

What role does music play in your work as an architect? Do you listen to it while you design? Or do you incorporate it into your architectural designs, for your occupants?

In an article recently published by The Boston Globe, Carolyn Y. Johnson writes about a surgeon who listens to music while he operates. Also, he is conducting various studies to really understand what effect music has on both doctors and patients. In addition to improving the...

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Using Design to Make the “Waiting Room” a Good Thing

What Should People Do When They Wait?

How do you design for the function of waiting? Do your building occupants ever really wait? Typically, they move from one activity to another, but it is equally important to also design for those in-between moments. What happens during those “between” moments can really impact an occupant’s experience; thus, as a designer, you can make what goes on inside a waiting room a great experience.

Take hospitals, for instance....

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Learn to Walk in Your Occupant’s Shoes, Think “Shopping Experience”

When you design an architectural space, are you concerned with how you might push or pull your occupant while they travel through it? What about when they are standing still? Your occupant’s frame of reference serves to balance them — and you, as the architect, can really play upon this factor.

In essence, you are creating a “shopping experience” for your occupant, and this can apply to more that just retail type architecture. Just as shoppers walk quickly, take their...

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Is Design Balance at Play in your Building?

Great architecture exists as a rich conversation between critical parts. I know that is fairly basic — but when you start to consider all of the parts that go into a building it sometimes can become muddled as to which parts are most important and some may be forgotten all together.

Rich Balance for the Visually Impaired Occupant

I recently came across a great model by which to think about architectural design balance. Yes, balance is more that just a visual experience. So, to take...

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Take Note when Experiencing Theater Set Design

Going to the theater is usually an invigorating experience. A good production definitely considers the orchestration of numerous stimuli…all in an effort to feed the senses. Similar to architecture, theater set design must work to create an experience with space, and often such theatrical experiences tap into so much more that just the visual sense.

For this reason, architects can learn a thing or two from good theater set design and performance.

Space Filled with Dynamic...

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Journey of Light, the Underground Building

Experiencing an underground building can be quite different from the usual above-grade architectural building types that often take light for granted.

Underground, light becomes a high commodity.

Light can be sculpted like clay underground — it can be molded, filtered and juxtaposed. Play with light in subterranean buildings can serve to guide, prepare and surprise occupants experiencing the space.

In addition, it is always an interesting experience to exit an underground...

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