First Impressions and Building Entrances – Why Design & Functionality Matter

For years, I’ve walked into buildings with an open eye towards architectural features – whether it be overall design, finishes, products, lighting or some other observation. It’s amazing how working in the architectural, engineering, or construction industry will forever change the way you look at buildings.

That’s the power of first impressions, though. It’s a big factor in building design. As with any introduction – to people, places, or products – first impressions are critical. Like interviewing for a job, there’s no denying the link between what the brain picks up in those first seconds, and the perceived quality over the life of that relationship. And by now we know that once humans are set in their ways, it’s very, very hard to change them.

So what first impressions are given when occupants enter your building? Where are the focal points, and what do they say about your design?

For so long, these impressions have been created by details or monumental features high up in the ceiling, a work of art or some other visual piece. Building entrances, however, can play a role in shaping the occupant’s experience and the ability to take in that focal point.

“Part of every space is the entrance – don’t neglect the importance of the threshold. This is where you may help occupants prepare for the visual stimuli they are about to take in, once inside. If there is no physical threshold, think of how the room’s details, lighting, materials and overall geometries will get their attention as they gain greater focus of the room over time.”

We believe it is time to rethink flooring, particularly in our building’s entrances. With the intelligent, creative, and beautiful designs being put out as architecture evolves – we need to leave the roll up mats for the convenience stores and back porches of the world. Let’s do something architecturally significant – as an integrated part of the overall design.