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Journal of Design Insight

Behind the scenes into the studio works of Maria Lorena Lehman.
EXPLORE JOURNAL TOPICS

Breaking the Mold to Unleash an Innovative Building Design

Why is it that truly innovative building design is practiced few and far between? Yes, many architects spend their energy building buildings, but few built architecture that uses the design of build environments to uplift lifestyle for their occupants. So, how can you as an architect push your buildings ahead, to break the mold and go beyond the status quo?

Do you find that you are at times stuck in a rut — using the same building materials, building after building, simply...

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Does the Demolition of Building Spaces Come With a Cost? (Video)

What happens when a building is both futuristic and visionary in its own time, but has its life cut short when it is demolished? Is the cost of maintaining such a building so great that it has to be destroyed? This is the topic of a new documentary called A Necessary Ruin: The Story of Buckminster Fuller and the Union Tank Car Dome.

The following is a trailer for this 30 minute documentary, which I think poses some interesting questions for us to consider when taking part in the ...

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On Finding an Interesting Use for an Underground Building

In an underground building, what if the boundary to celebrate is as much the vertical one as it is the horizontal one? You may celebrate its “below-ness” by making connection with what is above your site’s grade in a not-so-typical way.

With a “sensing” design mindset, you can bridge the two worlds with much more than a dramatic entrance into or exit from the natural light. For example, you can use new lighting technologies.

In the image above, you can...

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Can a Building Impact Lifestyle Design?

I often use the term “lifestyle design” when thinking about the design of architecture. By this, I mean that architecture holds within it a great power to uplift the way humans live their daily lives — and it is “lifestyle” which is directly connected to human health, happiness and spirit.

Although many factors must be considered, architecture is ultimately for the occupant. And it is up to the architect to provide real and meaningful value for them.

...

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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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