5 principles of Design Thinking in Architecture

At Surroundings, we are moving beyond a basic design solution to integrate human needs more fully into our processes. We have been working to adapt these new and exciting processes and apply design thinking to our playing field : architecture. 

Human Centred

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Architecture is experienced through client's eyes.

We all have individual backgrounds, experiences and preferences related to how we live and what environments we prefer. Human Centred architecture seeks to design through client's eyes to meet their needs and recognise their individual preferences.



We include all stakeholders in the architectural design process

To truly be human centred we must carefully balance and fulfil the needs of all users of the space. We aim to harness the knowledge from as many different perspectives as possible in our process. Rather than see creativity as a gift, we believe everyone is creative and can express this by learning to articulate the ideas that naturally flow through their minds. 

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Architecture is an interface for human experience

In parallel with designing a space, we design a set of key experiences and rituals to play out in that space. These scenes are designed to celebrate and enhance the experience of the occupants living there.



We see the architecture as a sequence of events that unfold over time

We imagine the building as a movie of the occupants' lives and we set about creating the building 'movie set' to suit them. We create experiences and spaces that reinforce, accumulate and build meaning with time.



We consider the entire environment of the human experience

Lives play out in physical environments and people perceive these environments usings all their senses: sound, sight, feel, smell and taste. We reinforce and connect the occupants to nature and promote a sense of place.

Find out more.

So, what is this Design Thinking?

One of the leaders in this field of 'design thinking' is a company called Ideo

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO Ideo.

Design thinking is a deeply human process that taps into abilities we all have but get overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols. Nobody wants to run an organization on feeling, intuition, and inspiration, but an over-reliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as risky. Design thinking provides an integrated third way.  Ideo. 

 "Our Approach: Design Thinking." IDEO. 9/12/2013. <www.ideo.com/about>