Over 500+ article essays by Maria Lorena Lehman

The Architecture Within: Design to Touch the Soul

design poetics

Touching the Soul with Design

An architectural environment can be designed to help people meet their needs and goals. This type of architecture works by helping a person to actualize their potential at very high levels – whether focused on increasing their creativity within an office building, healing from an illness within a hospital, or by following their curiosity to learn within a school. But what about creating an architecture that helps one to unlock a sense of fulfillment and deep joy that is already within one’s soul? What would this architecture be like? And how would it transform the way we design office buildings, hospitals, and schools?

The Architecture of Inspiration

To tap into the sense of fulfillment that already exists within oneself, architecture needs to push past all the external noise, to help a person experience a truer beauty, function, and meaning. This becomes an architecture of higher-level design poetics that does not stop at “moving” a person emotionally, but that also beneficially transforms a person experientially as its design poetics evoke a purer and deeper sense of fulfillment. For example, an environment that helps one tap into the stillness within, is an architecture that does not tell a person what to do, but is instead a place that listens to what its occupants want to do. Such a place becomes inspirational, and fuels a person by motivating them intrinsically.

This type of architecture may exude a heightened soul-touching quality – where a person is able to truly engage on five experiential levels: physiologically, intellectually, emotionally, behaviorally, and spiritually. Thus, an architecture that helps one to tap into one’s own internal spark of inspiration becomes an architecture that is also able to motivate the self-actualization of one’s true needs, goals, and dreams.

A Transcendent Walk within Architecture

For example, imagine an architecture that provides space for one to take a daily walk. But the walking journey that it exudes is not for a walk that feels like a chore. Instead, this architecture uses metaphor to create a walking journey that evokes a story – through an architectural language of columns that “play” with light rhythmically in ways that mirror the true happiness of walking step by step along a path of self-reflection. What if this walking space where part of an office building? A hospital? Or a school? Might it be used to help spark the light in a person’s soul? Perhaps an office worker creates a brilliant idea while on their walk. Or a hospital patient feels the joy of true calm that alleviates stress to help them heal. Or a school student finds “space” in their day to think more deeply about a concept learned earlier. As you can see, this is an architecture that goes beyond “walking for exercise”.

A transcendent architecture reaches deeper to transform more profoundly through higher level design poetics that reach within. Create architecture that beneficially stirs emotion; not by making external “noise” louder, but by silencing such noise so that the architectural space can touch the inner soul.

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