Experiential design schemas – Combining modular thinking with integral theory


  • Mark DeKay University of Tennessee (USA)
  • Stefano Tornieri Iuav University of Venice (Italy)




schemas, sensorial experience, modularity, pedagogy, well-being


Certain aspects of the concept of modularity, introduced primarily in the field of computer science by David L. Parnas (1972), have formed the basis for modularity in education: cohesion, decoupling, ease of modification, replicability are characteristics of the computer module that also apply well to the educational context. It is with this pedagogical attitude related to the modular didactic system that Experiential Design Schemas was born, a work methodologically related to integral theory by Ken Wilber (2007) and applied to architecture through an important section of design schemes. Also organised with a practice intention, the aim is to provide analytical and design tools that outline the capacity of formal and compositional choices to shape environmental forces for the purpose of experiential and emotional effects.


Article info

Received: 24/10/2023; Revised: 31/10/2023; Accepted: 04/11/2023        


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Author Biographies

Mark DeKay, University of Tennessee (USA)

He is an Architect and Professor at the University of Tennessee (USA), specialising in sustainable design theory and tools. His research topics include environmental design, pedagogy, architectural experience and sustainability. His works include Integral Sustainable Design – Transformative Perspectives (2011) and Sun, Wind, and Light – Architectural Design Strategies, 3rd edition (2014).
E-mail: mdekay@utk.edu

Stefano Tornieri, Iuav University of Venice (Italy)

He is an Architect and PhD in Architectural and Urban Composition. From 2017 to 2023, he was a Research Fellow at IRIDE (Infrastructure Research Integral Design Environment) of the Iuav University of Venice. He is currently a Lecturer at LTU University of Technology in Luleå (Sweden). He was nominated for the EU Mies van der Rohe Award 2019 and was the curator of the Grenada Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale (2021). His research focuses on applying integral theory in landscape design and, in particular, on the systemic role of architecture in coastal and riverine production landscapes.
E-mail: stornieri@iuav.it


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Cover of the book Experiential Design Schemas: Meditation Hall, SAN Museum (2019) in Wonju (Gangwon Province, South Korea), designed by Tadao Ando (credit: J. Jang, Image Joom). AGATHÓN 14 | 2023




How to Cite

DeKay, M. and Tornieri, S. (2023) “Experiential design schemas – Combining modular thinking with integral theory”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 14, pp. 40–49. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/1422023.