DEKAY, Mark

(United States)

Title of contribution:

An Integral Approach to Architectural Experience


Communicating Solving the Climate Crisis by Design


Where & when:

 Toscana I.

Thursday, May 28th, 11:30 – 13:30


 Toscana I.

Thursday, May 28th, 11:30 – 13:30


An Integral Approach to Architectural Experience

Sensory-rich buildings feel more alive, and we feel more alive in them. As people spend 90% of their time indoors, buildings are the contemporary mediator between humans and nature. Theoretical works explaining human experience in buildings is weak and fragmented. Design resources remain limited, couched as general concepts in narrative phenomenological approaches or as engineering standards framed to reduce negative consequences, not enhance the positive.
This paper uses a four-quadrant model of architecture based on Integral Sustainable Design [ISD] (DeKay, 2011), identifying quadratic perspectives of Behaviors, Systems, Cultures and Experiences. The ISD book identified experiences of nature via buildings as a significant gap in theory and practice of an integrally-informed architecture. It examines the co-emerging relationships and interactions among: Distribution of Experiential Conditions (UR), Organizations of Architectural Space (LR), Backgrounds of Interpretation (LR), and Fields of Experiential Possibilities, (UL). It also outlines five patterns of emergent conditions giving rise to experiences of nature: Contrasts, Gradients, Sequences, Rhythms, Stochasms, and a derivative, Narratives. The result is a new theoretical expression that outlines for the first time how interior human experiences of buildings are related to the mechanics of nature, to the complexity of spatial order and to the worldviews that shape individual interpretation of sensation and perception.


Communicating Solving the Climate Crisis by Design

As author and editor of a book on integral sustainable design, we each have 13 years of experience in the scholarship of applying integral thought. Recently, we have delivered numerous presentations on “Solving the Climate Crisis by Design”. This paper presents four different models for disseminating this scholarship and research to academic and crossover communities. Audiences in Lebanon, Scotland, Australia and USA consisted of design and construction schools, building science educators and a mixed audience at a spirituality and peace center. Models included two different 4-quadrant approaches, a Big-3 approach, and a format where worldview levels dominate. Each presents problems and building/urban solutions. From different integral framings the climate crisis looks radically different and its solutions also vary. Presentation design and scholarship about this work are guided by an IMP with reflective practitioner (Schon) and emergent learning (Darling) methods. In other words, we present a narrative of 40-60 minutes, informed by a history of scholarship where an integral approach informs the content, the message, the structure of the talks, its delivery, and how we assess and improve this dissemination over time. We learned to only speak integral to integral, that too much bad news activates a collective shadow, that green values and amber science miss the opportunity to enroll the prerational level, that a multilevel message is needed, and much more.This paper uses a four-quadrant model of architecture based on Integral Sustainable Design [ISD] (DeKay, 2011), identifying quadratic perspectives of Behaviors, Systems, Cultures and Experiences. The ISD book identified experiences of nature via buildings as a significant gap in theory and practice of an integrally-informed architecture. It examines the co-emerging relationships and interactions among: Distribution of Experiential Conditions (UR), Organizations of Architectural Space (LR), Backgrounds of Interpretation (LR), and Fields of Experiential Possibilities, (UL). It also outlines five patterns of emergent conditions giving rise to experiences of nature: Contrasts, Gradients, Sequences, Rhythms, Stochasms, and a derivative, Narratives. The result is a new theoretical expression that outlines for the first time how interior human experiences of buildings are related to the mechanics of nature, to the complexity of spatial order and to the worldviews that shape individual interpretation of sensation and perception.


About Mark DeKay

Mark is a registered architect and Professor of Architecture at the Univ. of Tennessee, author of “Integral Sustainable Design: transformative perspectives,” co-author of “Sun, Wind, and Light: architectural design strategies.” Mark and his wife/editor, Susanne, were trained by Al Gore as a Climate Reality Leaders. They offer lectures internationally on “Solving the Climate Crisis by Design,” along with trans-disciplinary workshops for faculty research teams using the Integral Research Approach.

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