Conceiving Architectural Design as a User Interface | Part 2

If we are to imagine architecture as a user interface, designers should have strategies to feature the occupant perspective as an integral part of the design process. Below is a methodology to inorporate the user perspective as a primary force in the design process, as well as a reinrterpretation of some of the strategies for effective UIs from Everett N. McKay’s book, UI is Communication, modified for architectural design applications.

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Conceiving Architectural Design as a User Interface | Part 1

As we move towards a future where digital interfaces, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality begin to infiltrate our architectural world, architects would be wise to study the communicative values of what they design. User Interface (GUI*) design methodologies, culled from various approaches to digital media design, may offer architects insight about how to create designs that communicate directly with occupants. By utilizing geometric configurations that elicit specific feelings and actions from occupants, architects can harness the cognitive processing of users in a similar manner as achieved in sophisticated UI designs.

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Client Confusion: The Architect’s Dilemma with Stakeholder Engagement

Most professional service trades have clear client relationships. A barber cuts a person’s hair or a financial advisor invests a client’s money. Architecture, however, offers a less relatable clarity of mission. Though Architects have standard “clients,” they also typically have professional obligations that are broader in scope. Besides clients, they service various stakeholders as part of a professional mission which combines public expectation and social good. This dual mission doesn’t necessarily have to elicit conflict; clients hire Architects precisely because they are able to consider the expectations of multiple stakeholders for the long term value of their projects.Read More

Architecture as an Art Form: Navigating Between Aesthetics and Purpose

What inspires us when we see art? What makes something visually appealing? How does a viewer perceive an object’s significance? I’ve been trying to discover the components of how we view art, and how that translates into how we feel about architecture. With mounting client pressures and professional standards that focus architectural designs on pragmatic issues – such as program, building codes, the environment, circulation, economic values – how does an architect defend the need for beauty and pleasure, and is that an important defense?

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Densification Without Displacement: How Incentivizing a Self-Driving Future Can Solve Urban Issues

While we observe a lack of housing supply in many American cities, there is a solution to our housing woes already woven into the urban fabric, especially in Southern California. Approximately 14% of all land in Los Angeles County is devoted to the parking of vehicles, machines that are idle roughly 95% of the time. As urban transportation gravitates towards the concept of mobility as an on-demand service, cities will have an opportunity to utilize intelligent zoning modifications to incentivize private landowners to solve some of their cities most urgent problems with reductions to parking requirements.Read More

Neuroscience, Creativity, and Architecture

The Architect’s Brain, by Harry Francis Mallgrave, is primarily concerned with explaining the process by which we humans categorize our spatial environment, and how neurological wiring leads us to interpret our surroundings mostly through metaphor (rather than literal).

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Defending LACMA

Perhaps the word “controversial” is an understatement to describe LACMA’s reconstruction plans over the next decade. The museum Director, Michael Govan, has planned to demolish most of the museum to make way for a new building designed by renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.Read More

The Architecture Of Our Self-Driving Future

This is a preliminary study of how, in the future, self-driving electric cars, aka Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), will affect the existing architecture and urban infrastructure of American cities. While much current media attention is focused on the technology and manufacturing of AVs, there is less news about how cities can encourage and benefit from their mass adoption.Read More

Utilizing Architectural Diagrams to Create Geometric Forms That Anticipate User Responses

The following Paper was accepted to be presented as a “Poster Presentation” at this year’s ANFA Conference (Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture) September 22-24, 2016. It was summarized as below for the Poster.

Download Poster Here

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Diagramming the Big Idea: Methods for Architectural Composition

In my search for precedent publications that discuss how to utilize diagramming in architecture, a professor friend of mine suggested I read Diagramming the Big Idea: Methods for Architectural Composition (2013), by Jeffrey Balmer and Michael T. Swisher, professors at UNC Charlotte. I was cautioned that the book was written primarily for first-year architecture students: less theoretical and more about basic implementation. The book presents a clear pedagogy for what architecture students should learn about a certain type of diagramming and how to implement the techniques.

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Synthesis of Survival Through Design

Richard Neutra’s seminal publication on designing for human comfort, Survival Through Design, was first published in 1954. His observations are surprisingly applicable and rarely seem dated, considering the lapse of 60+ years.  It is surprising though, how little work has been accomplished since the first publication, on studying how to create architecture more responsive to the human condition and neurological processing.

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Niche Tactics – Architectural Design via Analogies of how Organisms Communicate with Their Surroundings

In my search for uncovering the nature of the relationship between a building and its context, I discovered a book that came out in 2015, Niche Tactics, written by the Director of the Cornell University Master of Architecture Program, Caroline O’Donnell. She presents an analysis of architectural design via analogies of how organisms communicate, share, and respond to their surroundings.

There are underlying subject matters that recur throughout the book, so I’m synthesizing her chapters into broader categories.

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The New Petersen Museum – A Mistaken Metaphor

The newly reinvented Petersen Automotive Museum is an eyesore on many levels, and Christopher Hawthorne does an excellent job in his LA Times article listing the multiple ways in which to sourly interpret the building. Even more though, I believe that this misanthropic contribution to the Los Angeles landscape is emblematic of two larger issues with Architectural design: the limitations of designing as a purely aesthetic proposition and the ignored interplay between how culture and technology intersect with built form.

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Why LA Should Embrace On-Demand Autonomous Electric Vehicles as a Transit Solution

The history of Los Angeles as a metropolis is based on the development of two concurrent phenomena: mobility systems and real estate speculation. These two forces have conspired to create a regional metropolis that has more in common with network science than with traditional urban planning.  More traditional cities, for example, revolved their centuries of development around commercial trade, such as a port. The genealogy of Los Angeles urban planning is important to understand so that we can forecast the best solutions for its future.

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What Can We Learn from the Five Architects

“. . . these seemingly ancient viewpoints come from an unadulterated moment of theory, when simple modernist thoughts had become tired, and utopian visions were proven unrealizable.  I don’t know that 40 years later we are dealing with a much different situation. . .”Read More

Our Research in 2015 – The Books

On occasion of the one year anniversary of IntuArch, we will be printing updated brochures.  One of the additions to the brochure is a two-page spread about our research.  Here are the excerpts from the spread:

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Top 10 Architectural Memes in Home Design

Meme (/ˈmm/ meem) noun – An idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. (Wikipedia)

Designing a home is often a proposition of multiple choice among iconic expressions. Architects will not typically divulge this fact, but most have a penchant for stylistic fetishes.  Professional photography tends to amplify these beautiful iconic moments. 

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The Broad: Synergy of Architectural Diagram and Art

I highly anticipated my visit to The Broad on September 30, and the experience did not disappoint.  The strategies employed by the Architects – Diller Scofidio and Renfro – to create the form of the building parallels my own research into architectural form making.  Their literal interpretation of the programmatic requirements into a clear diagram pairs beautifully with an exceptional attention to detail.  I may not agree with all of the final results, but the building communicates effectively to a visitor and provides an exceptional space for contemporary art.Read More

SCI-Arc Right Now Conference – Observations and Extrapolations

This past weekend, I was excited to attend a conference at SCI-Arc, entitled “SCI-Arc Right Now.”  Due to the recent succession of the dean, the school was interested to explore what the current nature of progressive architecture might be.  It seemed universally accepted among the panelists that the formalist approach to digital design is becoming exhausted.Read More

Frank Gehry at LACMA – The Possibilities and Limitations of Assemblage

Frank Gehry’s impact on the general public is perhaps more evident than that of other Architects.  The general public is fascinated by his work, and his buildings attract awe and respect from our culture as a whole.  His relationship with design professionals, however, is much more contentious. Read More

Reckoning with Reckoning with Colin Rowe

“. . .A book titled Reckoning with Colin Rowe, edited by Emmanuel Petit, just published this year.  Here, an architectural elite – Rem Koolhaas, Peter Eisenman, and colleagues of Rowe from his Texas Ranger days and later – reflect on Rowe’s influence in their own careers and theories, and his influence on architectural discourse in general. In the introductory Chapter Petit proposes the intellectual framework for why an update to Rowe’s legacy is necessary. . .”Read More

What is Architecture, How is it Delivered, and How Can it Add Value?

“How Architecture can add value to projects through design?  What, exactly, do Architects do?  And, how do they do it?Read More

Google’s “Plex” vs. Apple’s “Ring”; What Corporate Architecture Conveys about Digital Platforms

The two biggest names in technology, Apple and Google (rechristened Alphabet), each introduced compelling designs for their future corporate headquarters in the past few years.  Nearly opposite in their design approach, what these companies – respectively, the 1st and 4th largest companies in the United States by market capitalization – envision for their new offices is an extension of how they each conduct research and generate the design for their own products.Read More

Defining a More Purposeful Architecture: A Guide to Current Architectural Trends

Published on ArchDaily January 9, 2015

The current state of architectural design incorporates many contemporary ideas of what defines unique geometry.  With the advent of strong computer software at the early 21st century, an expected level of experimentation has overtaken our profession and our academic realms to explore purposeful architecture through various techniques, delivering meaningful buildings that each exhibit a message of cultural relevancy.Read More

Adaptive Design by Resultant Geometries

I have been passionately reading theorist Nikos Salingaros’ books recently, A Theory of Architecture, and Unified Architectural Theory: Form, Language, Complexity.  The latter title, published just last year, reinforces much of the theory behind my recent research in Diagramism, the ability for a project’s characteristics and constraints to actually form the geometry of the design.  Read More