How to Design Interactive Architecture for Occupant Collaboration

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How to Design Interactive Architecture for Occupant Collaboration


In this Micro-Lecture, you will learn how to shift the way you think about the design of interactive architecture --- so it can foster new levels of collaboration among building occupants. Watch the following presentation to learn mindset formulas, and design drivers to guide your design explorations.




00:06 Maria Lorena Lehman: This is Maria Lorena Lehman, founder of the Sensing Architecture Academy and of the MLL Design Lab. In today's micro-lecture, we are going to dive into how to design interactive architecture to foster collaboration between occupants. First, you will want to think about technology when you are designing: Think about how you can use technology in new and innovative ways that push boundaries so that the architecture is no longer just engaging one person, but acting as a bridge that connects people with one another. Now, architecture can connect people in different ways. There are all sorts of different formulas by which it can do this. For instance, occupants can engage and interact and impact the building itself. Then, occupants can also engage with one another, and together can impact the building. And also, occupants can impact and engage with the building, that, in turn, impacts other occupants. So you can think of this through different formulas, through different lenses, so that your design and architecture can really have a positive impact --- not just upon one person and one occupant, but upon a group of people and the way that they interact with each other…all because of the way your environment is fostering and engaging that collaboration.


01:39 MLL: So there are different applications by which architecture can foster such collaborations. You might want to think about these as you design any building type. But, the first example is learning. For instance, visitors in a museum can experience the environment, and the environment can engage them to interact with one another through the different exhibits and positioning of those exhibits. Such a museum design can have an interactive floor that uses technology in a new and exciting way. Or it can have collaboration tables that present artifacts in a museum through a hands-on learning experience that invites occupants and visitors to collaborate and learn with one another. Students in a school can engage with one another as they learn as well. Perhaps the interior architecture allows for this type of collaboration as they are learning.


02:39 MLL: Another example can be seen in the workplace, where teamwork is fostered through interactive architectural designs. Perhaps within the workplace, workers within meetings can use technology in new and innovative ways to brainstorm and create productive and efficient, creative, unique solutions that solve for their workplace challenges. Another example is in healing environments. Interactive architecture can help with patient healing in health care settings, for example. For instance, the architecture can help the medical staff to work with the patient to help them heal and progress toward recovery and ultimately toward prevention from a relapse of their illness.


03:34 MLL: So as you can see, applications for interactive architecture, that foster collaboration, are important aspects to your environment to get right, because your architecture isn't just affecting one occupant or a group of occupants individually and independently; it is also affecting them as they interact with one another. Thus, a tip to help you design in this way is to think about improving the paradigm of how environments engage with people. Think beyond the boundaries of where architectural designs are today. Think about technology in interactive terms and in terms of how it can help the environment to engage with people --- not just one occupant or a group of occupants, but where and how it acts as a bridge that gets people to interact with one another in beneficial ways.


About the author

Maria Lorena Lehman

Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary artist, designer, and author focusing on links between environmental design, science, emerging technologies, and human potential. Lehman is founder of MLL Atelier, an art-based architectural design research practice. Maria Lorena Lehman is author of the award-winning book entitled, Adaptive Sensory Environments. She is recipient of the Harvard University Digital Design Prize for the "most creative use of digital media in relation to the design professions". Lehman also creates sculptures and paintings described as "visual poetry of motion that is a new inspiration" by Daniel Smith, the company that creates watercolors for artists worldwide. Maria Lorena Lehman holds the degrees of Master in Design with Distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Architecture, Cum Laude, from Virginia Tech. She is internationally published and in numerous periodicals, including The Architect's Journal, Esquisses Magazine, Architect Magazine and Forbes.