How might we fight unconscious biases in the design process?

All designers, no matter their level of expertise or experience, have to fight against their own unconscious biases every day. Our personal worldview is defined by social and cultural beliefs, perspectives, traditions and taken-for-granted assumptions that we use to effectively move around the world.

While these assumptions are evolutionary in their origins and have helped humans throughout the ages to stay safe and pick up on social cues, they also have unintended consequences. These assumptions limit designers to their own worldview, creating thinking and design habits which are deeply rooted and often incredibly difficult to self-identify.

In essence, we have…

Gender and Design Bias in the Architectural World

Design is inherently flawed simply because it is created by humans.

Just as we are beautifully complex, unique and imperfect, so are the things we create. I believe these unique flaws tend to add a certain character to otherwise functional designs.

But what happens when design is not made by a complex diverse group of people, but one very similar, very exhaustingly repetitive type of designer?

What happens when our world is designed exclusively by white men (and therefore unconsciously for white men)?

I embarked on researching this topic in order to fully comprehend both the root of the problems…

What business innovation is the most important and how will it help us move forward?

Imagine yourself in the middle of a room. There are doors all around you, all identical with no identifying markers and no clear path out. Coronavirus has placed us all here, where we find ourselves surrounded by uncertain futures. Certain only that by choosing one door, we are losing the rest
(Sylvia Plath — The Fig Tree, anyone?).

While it is easy to be paralyzed by uncertainty, feeling like our shoes glued to the floor with fear, now is the time where we need to step out of those shoes and pick a door, any door.

I know it seems…

How to alleviate the strain on health care using architectural innovation

There are endless architectural structures that make up a city, and in times of crisis, the focus lasers in on a single one: Hospitals.

Hospitals are specifically designed for a non-pandemic world, where there is more than enough space for citizens to get the care they need. But when confronted with a worldwide and unexpected crisis, how can these incredibly large structures be expected to expand and modify? They shouldn´t. Hospitals and their staff have enough to deal with without the added burden of thinking of how to expand their existing structure.

This is where we (designers) come in.


How a storytelling tool can help us power through innovation.

Getty Images

Dystopias have always been a very powerful way to demonstrate a society in disrepair. With gut-wrenching scenes of grey rubble filled buildings, the visceral stripping away of freedom from protagonists and a constant fear of the outside world, Dystopias safely take us into a universe where we are both terrified and hyper alert of how grateful we are of our different reality.

Nevertheless, these impossible seeming stories portrayed in books and movies ranging from George Orwell´s “1984” to Margaret Atwood´s “The Handmaids Tale” seem to be hitting a little too close to home right now.

A couple of months ago…

Over the last few years, architectural layouts have all been diligently following the trend of shared work spaces and open floor plans. With the rise (and fall) of companies like WeWork, the architecture world has been left at an impasse. Do we go back to the cubicle lifestyle normalized by the thousands of offices in the industrial revolution era or do we move on to something new?

The rise of the open floor plan began much earlier than most of us know, starting with the work of incredible architects like Frank Lloyd Wright who believed that in order to break…

Roberta Morales

Architect and Strategic Designer

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