Architecture is the original UX design.

In response to recent trends seeing Architecture firms hire UX consultants, I was asked what I thought Architecture could learn from UX design. I think this trend is a good one – it’s a natural and positive progression as all kinds of industries become more nuanced and specialised. As for what can be learned, (and I do love a good metaphor), the learning exchange is akin to that of a grandparent learning from their grandchild.

Architecture and UX design are genetically linked. UX design grows from HCI design, which draws its foundations from Vitruvius. Architecture can learn fresh perspectives on its own history, and new methods of extrapolating information of how humans use space. At the same time, ever the wise grandparent, Architecture needs a period of self-reflection and ask some rather unflattering questions: Has architecture become too distracted by technology that fundamental principles of human experience are being neglected? Worse still, is Architecture forgetting its own history?

I love to see our architectural landscape evolve with parametric designs and sustainable structures. However, I’ve seen that in some designs, the celebration of or compassion for the human experiencing space is forfeited in favour of technological glamour.

Great architecture tailors the proportions of all its fundamental principles, new and old, for its complete context. UX design can show Architecture what the right proportions are.

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