How to Formulate Your Architectural Design Concept by Detecting Patterns (Video)

Video Introduction

By becoming highly aware of pattern both within your architectural designs and within the way your occupants use them, you can significantly boost your ability as an architect to design for better experiences.

There is a point where pattern becomes behavior, and your awareness of not only when this occurs, but also what it affects is key as you create building designs that will interact with your occupants.

In today’s video, I walk you through the relationships between building and occupant through the lens of pattern detection — to help you think in new ways as you formulate your initial architectural design concept.

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Video Transcript

00:01 Maria Lorena Lehman: Hello, this is Maria Lorena Lehman with Today, I’m going to talk about pattern detection within architectural design and how you can use pattern to really enhance your designs not only esthetically but also functionally in terms of what they can do for your occupants. So, if you’ll notice here, you have your building and your building, of course, communicates with your occupants. But then you ask, “What comes between these? What from here to here can we use as architects to really open up the dialog of communication between the two, so that each enhances the other?”

00:49 MLL: One major thing I’ve been looking at lately are patterns, and pattern detection. Because of course, the building has its own behavior and with its behavior, it yields patterns that ultimately affect occupants. And as your occupants inhabit the building and travel within it and experience it, they too then elicit behavior, and those behaviors also have patterns. So, the trick then becomes for you as an architect to pull all of these pattern behavioral cues together so that you can best mirror and open up that dialog of communication between building and occupant. Now, pattern detection of course can take on many forms.

01:47 MLL: So, I’ll just mention a few here. One might be variation. So, begin to look at how your building elements, both static and dynamic, play off of one another, how they vary from one another, how they’re different, and then look at how those differences affect your occupants because they too are different. They have different ages, different genders, different learning styles, different ways of socializing, and they need to know different things at different times while they’re within your space so that they can function within it optimally.

02:32 MLL: Another thing to look for might be the use of metaphor. And with this, what I mean is to simply look for patterns that your architecture brings where it can pull together and mirror something greater than itself that we recognize, or that your occupants recognize. This is a great way to bring your architecture to new heights so that it can be greater than sum of its parts. Another is juxtaposition. Begin to look at where your architectural elements contrast with one another, and how the differences between these things can actually help your occupants.

03:29 MLL: When doing all of this, as you get started and begin to focus on variation, metaphor and juxtaposition, you’ll suddenly be gaining new insight into how you can better inform your design concept. This is a question I get asked about a lot from you, my readers. When you’re beginning a project, you’re given certain programmatic requirements but you seem to get stuck on how to begin your overall grand architectural gesture and your concept which is very important because so much stems from that initial gesture. So, just begin by looking at patterns, and I think that will take you in a good direction.

04:23 MLL: Thank you, for listening. This is Maria Lorena Lehman with

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  1. Andreea B. says

    Thank you for this post. It really helped me . I really received some insight on how to get started and that was important to me as a fresh student in architecture .

  2. supriya says

    Being an architecture student (B.arch).
    The information you have provided is really helpful…
    I was stuck with my design problem and started searching for concepts. Now i have started to think about the patterns and the occupants needs combing them with my design.
    THANK YOU………..

    • Maria Lorena Lehman says

      Hi Supriya,

      I’m very glad that my video on concept design helped you to get your design unstuck. Looking forward to seeing you around Sensing Architecture!


  3. Negar says

    Hello Dear Maria, I am working on “a Computer Museum Design” as my project in university and I am struggling with the idea and the concept for my project. Since the Computer is based on logical operations and demonstrate the technology, I have not been able to choose the appropriate concept for my project which can be able to express computer technology. It would be my pleasure if you could help me. I appreciate your insightful advice on the factors that could shape my concept of the museum.

    • Maria Lorena Lehman says

      Hi Negar,

      Good luck working on your computer museum design — I would suggest you watch the video on this page again and think about how you can apply what you are learning there to your project. Because your project is a university project, I cannot be of more assistance at this time since it is important that you come up with the idea/concept yourself. I do wish you the best of luck!


  4. Kay says

    Hi Maria

    Thank you so much for the newsletters and all the web support, i am a student doing (BArchS) and i find this site so insightful in terms of guiding my design, am currently working on a medical center project, any extra info would be wonderful! Thanks again so much!


    • Maria Lorena Lehman says

      Hi Kay,

      First, I would like to thank you for being such a loyal reader of my work both on this blog and within my newsletter. I appreciate it!

      That’s great that you’re working on a medical center project — I would recommend that you do a search on this blog for terms like “hospital design” or “patient room”. Many articles will be presented that may help with your project. Best of luck!


  5. prerna says

    hi Maria
    i am a student of barch from Delhi .i would like to thank you for information you provided in the video..I really received some insight on how to get started .currently i am working on design of a house of a doctor with clinic ….It would be my pleasure if you could help me.
    thank u

    • Maria Lorena Lehman says

      Hi Prerna,

      I’m so glad that my video on “How to Formulate Your Architectural Design Concept” helps you! With regard to your other question — I sent you an email to we can discuss further.


  6. prerna says

    hi maria mam
    i want your help in terms of book i should refer which could help me in the project of designing a doctors house with a clinic .and which video should i watch on your site which could help me in it.
    thanking u

    • Maria Lorena Lehman says

      Hi Prerna,

      I sent you an email to discuss further. Hope the videos/podcast I suggest helps you out with your design project.