Go Beyond Architectural Signage to Strengthen Your Design

When designing your architectural works, do you give thought to how your occupant will navigate through the spaces that you provide? With this, I mean giving consideration to your project beyond programming and wayfinding — what I’m eluding to here is getting you to reach into the poetics of occupant movement through your building.

In other words, how do you entice your building occupant to turn left or right within your building when they have a choice? Hopefully, you do not rely fully on architectural signage to lead your occupant along. You see, while experiencing your building, your occupants move from milestone to milestone. Thus, architectural features can help to reinforce these milestones or can help to move them to the next one. Hence, your architecture becomes a roadmap for their experience — where [Read more…]

How Architecture Can Promote Occupant Collaboration

Buildings operate best when their pieces and parts work together as a system — and this includes occupants as being a part of that system as well. You see, in buildings like schools, hospitals and office buildings, occupants must often work together as a team to reach a desired outcome.

In schools, the desired outcome is to learn. In hospitals the desired outcome is for patients to heal with minimal suffering. And in office buildings the desired outcome is often one of productivity and creativity used to execute a project.

Whatever the case, buildings work better when their building occupants can collaborate while within them. And when collaboration occurs, the building itself brings greater value to occupants. So, it’s a win-win situation.

An example of all of this can be seen in [Read more…]

Use Resourceful Architecture Techniques to “Pre-Experience” Design for the Senses

Image: Hans_van_Rijnberk | Flickr

What do you do when your architectural design tool won’t allow you to test your design for the senses? How do you know that you are creating the best design for your future building occupants? What architecture techniques will you use?

Well, we all know that there is a multitude of modeling software out there to keep you refining your design — to present it not only to yourself, but to reviewers and clients. And with this software, you can come close to modeling architecture for the different parts of the senses. You can use software like 3DStudio Max to visually see what is going on; you can model sound using acoustic modeling software. But —what about touch? And smell?

Well, much can be gathered through the eyes about touch and smell. After all, you can infer that a textured looking wall might be rough to touch. Also, you pull from previous experience about what certain elements will feel and smell like. And from there, you begin to formulate [Read more…]

How A Transient Building Skin Can Engage Community

Image Credit: seier+seier | Flickr
Image Credit: seier+seier | Flickr

Building skin has the power to hide and protect while also serving to display and reveal. And in particular, building skin that is transient takes on the ability to do all of these things. For example, the Danish Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen maintains a skin that uses screens which change their display dependent upon time of day and seasons. Such a versatile building skin makes for a building that is more adaptive — able to brighten dark days, and able to further “broadcast” inner productions.

Building skin must often accomplish so much, from energy efficiency to aesthetic appeal. And there is more that can be done. For instance, what happens when a building skin can appear and disappear in time? Suddenly, the interior becomes public as the building skin makes itself invisible. The building becomes chameleon-like, able to [Read more…]

Top 7 Reasons Why Mobile Architecture Can Leave a Permanent Positive Mark

Image: rox sm | Flickr

The experience of mobile architecture can be quite a powerful thing. Take for instance the BMW Guggenheim Laboratory that was constructed in New York — there, on a rather small lot, this lab was assembled to serve as think-tank and community center. And the beauty of this is that such architecture does a lot to uplift an area.

To explain further as to why this is the case, the following are seven reasons why mobile architecture can be a good thing for a local community: [Read more…]

Why Architecture Can Make a Positive Difference in an Occupant’s Life

Image Credit: rox sm | Flickr

Architecture surrounds occupants, it engages them, and it guides them. A well designed work can make an experience brighter, livelier, happier, and more meaningful. So, why are so many buildings today designed at the status quo, where they are there to meet the bare essentials? Perhaps it is because many architects today do not think in terms of holistic design thinking.

You see, holistic design is a work that considers all of the senses. It is a place where aspects like attention, focus, learning, and memory have been addressed. Holistically designed places can be soothing, comfortable, inspirational, and even beautiful.

The main idea is to not get rid of [Read more…]

A Formula to Make Your Occupant’s Architectural Memories Last

Image Credit: szeke | Flickr

Did you know that there is memory bias? That is, memory can be changed, boosted, or impaired. So, if this is the case: What makes building occupants form stronger architectural memories than others?

Well, according to a Memory Bias article in Science Daily, there are many ways that memory bias can occur – but there are three main aspects. They are humor, positivity, and self-generated memories. Each of these latter aspects can boost memory in people. So, with this, I wonder how these play a role in architectural design.

After all, there are times where a design can be funny (or fun). There are times when a design can accentuate the positive over the negative. And there are times when a design can help an occupant self-generate information to [Read more…]

Professional Office Design that Can Boost Creativity By Targeting Occupant Working Memory


Working memory is a part of everyone’s life. That is, it is the combination of the processes that go on during focused attention. Until now, it has been thought that such working memory is really limited to only one focused task, but now there is a theory that working memory is really a sum total of different processes that go on to accomplish tasks. (1)

For instance, say you’re involved in focused attention to get ready for a presentation. Well, the tasks that you are involved with to finish your presentation may be numerous, and may vary widely in terms of the type of work that needs to be done. Reading is a different task from building a design model, for instance. And when you engage with the task of [Read more…]

Building Comfort in Architecture Isn’t Just About Temperature Control

Image: Jeremy Levine Design | Flickr

Comfort in architecture can relate to many aspects of how a building gets designed. It’s not always just about temperature control — the issue that gets so much attention anytime building comfort gets mentioned. In fact, building comfort has a lot to do with how an architectural built form engages an occupant through all of their senses, particularly when considering the harmonization between them…like with factors of lighting, materiality, sound, and so on.

Ideally, building comfort also includes your architectural ability to foresee occupant need before they even know they need it. This boost in performance will likely have your occupants’ say to themselves… “I didn’t realize I needed this. But now that I have it, I do not want to be without it.” Through this lens, building comfort transcends the senses as it evolves to trigger aspects like [Read more…]

What Story does a Commercial Steel Building Structure tell about a Building’s Journey

Image: tegioz | Flickr

Building structure, at face value, is about the framework that holds up the building. But what does a commercial steel building structure reveal about the building perceptually? Does the rhythm of its components add to the excitement of experiencing an architectural work? And when do structural elements that are further detailed (as when a column is uniquely articulated), take on their own behavioral fabric?

Well, there are times when building structure contributes to a magnificent positive tension between building elements and their composition. And this “tension”, if executed well, can make for quite an exciting place to experience.

If you take into account much of Santiago Calatrava’s architectural designs, you cannot help but be inspired by the type of tension his works radiate. As the structures embrace the rhythm that becomes [Read more…]