Our existing verbal and visual vocabularies demonstrate a limited ability to address the qualitative aspects of interior spaces. Design terminology is specifically pragmatic (it consists of expressions such as function and circulation, and codifies physical safety), but such terms cannot describe the intentional emotive interplay between humans, objects, and environments. This interplay is necessary to stimulate elevated awareness and behavior, and so create environments that may, for example, be able to offer the occupant a sense of dignity, and foster greater trust as an outcome of the design process.
Most architectural theory has reduced the philosophical concepts of space, harmony, and balance to formal artistic criteria, House ideas and rendered the very people for whom buildings are created as lifeless abstractions, almost non-essential participants in the design process. If we are to achieve a better design methodology, there is an urgent need to develop more accurate means of addressing the emotive power of design.
For too long, designers across all disciplines have avoided delving seriously into the phenomenological aspects of design.3 We have simplified our existence and have thought of humans in universal terms, as if there were a common denominator that can serve as the measure for everyone. In fact, the first design criteria that must be reviewed are the proportioning and measuring methodologies of the human body. This field needs a conceptual poetics based on the beauty of human diversity. Designing for being requires more than just measuring the body in its relevant parts; as for any building activity, it must start from the inside and work outward to incorporate all of the qualities of experience.