Abraham Maslow in the year 1962 proposed the theory of hierarchy of needs which consists of five distinct groups of needs a functional individual in the society would have. The needs range from the physiological needs to safety and belonging to esteem and finally to self-actualization. In order to achieve happiness and reach self-actualization, we must at intervals fulfil our lower level of needs. To put it more simply Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is about understanding people, and from the perspective of architecture and design, it is about creating an environment the user enjoys being a part of.
The idea of understanding the hierarchy of needs from the design perspective hinges on the assumption that for the design to be successful, it must satisfy the individual’s most basic needs or else it will not feel connected. Thus, on top of being aesthetically appealing the architectural design must aim to be functional and satisfy the human needs.
In the current article we will be looking into architecture design inspired by the hierarchy of needs and stating how BIM, more specifically Architecture and MEP BIM Services can enable the creation of designs aimed at satisfying human needs.
The Hierarchy of Design:
The hierarchy of design has been based and developed upon Maslow’s theory of needs. At the lowest level lies functionality, followed by reliability, usability and finally creativity.
The functionality layer is at the bottom of the hierarchy. Here, the most basic purpose of any space must be recognized through the design. For instance, the living room or the lounge room for relaxing and socializing. It would ideally be a place which would function as a reception room for guests. It would thus contain chairs, sofas, coffee table, television, lamps etc. Similarly having a conference room in offices is imperative to hosting guests, conducting meeting etc. Its design should thus be a fusion of hospitality and service with sitting and standing capacity, audio-visual equipment etc. Functionality is subjective and must be upto the end-user to determine if the place actually meets the functional needs. Today, BIM Architectural Services can be used to create 3D models with all the details about the specifications from the location of MEP elements, furniture models etc. These models can also be used to create virtual reality and augmented reality environments and thus communicate the architect’s design intent. By knowing exactly how the design looks from the start enables the client to understand if the design actually meets his or her functional needs.
Reliability and usability:
The design must be stable and consistent. They must in all cases fulfil their purpose. For Instance, in the reading room there should be sufficient lightning or perhaps in the café there should be communal tables, lightning that facilitate easy atmosphere etc. That would mean focus on the MEP systems of the building from ensuring proper lighting, cool temperatures etc. They are also essential to any office, public or residential space as they ensure the lifts are works, fire detection and response measures are functioning to capacity etc.
Proficiency and Creativity:
A design should affect people’s life. It should motivate and inspire them. This holds true especially in offices and is perhaps one reasons why architects and designers are moving away from cubicle style of design and looking towards open layouts which enhance productivity and creativity. Similarly, there could be presence of more plants, natural light, proper flow of air etc. which could all lead to increase in the person’s proficiency and creativity.
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