11 Mar 2011 08:03 pm
The design of Museum and Exhibitions can seem overwhelming. There are so many aspects to consider with these types of space. There are different considerations for each type of environment-for example, is the space going to house a permanent collection, express a cultural event or be a general space intended to hold multiple types of collections? Truly, there are countless considerations to be made for each space. One thing that is perhaps the most important is the designing of the experience of the museum or exhibit.
Can you remember a time when you were in a museum or exhibit space that created an entire experience for you?
Holocaust Museum source.http://chattahbox.com/us/2009/06/10/holocaust-museum-shooting-one-dead-shooter-neo-nazi/
I can remember an unforgettable experience of when I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. This museum was designed specifically for this exhibit. I feel this is part of why it is such a successful space. Since my time at the museum I have thought about what it was that made this space have such an impact on me. Of course the subject is the main reason for such an intense experience. However, I feel the design of the space truly magnified the experience and allows the user to truly be connected to the period rather than just being an observer looking at an image of a horrific event.
During my reflective thinking of this experience I have realized there are a few key elements about the design of the space that makes it have such a strong impact of the user. One of the first things I noted was the fact that it was a space designed completely around the experience of one, very influential and horrific, historical event. This allowed the spaces to be completed designed for each different area and specific experience. Different areas were designed with very different volumetric characteristics. There were moments of very tight, dark and cold spaces adjacent to large open loud spaces. These caused the user to have a wide array of psychological experiences in the same space. The design of the space was very intentional in the sequence of exhibit spaces. There was a very liner design to the museum. The design completely dictated what the user would experience at which point of the journey through the space. Finally, since the exhibit had a very linear flow to the design, the people in charge of the operations of the museum had complete control on the amount of people in any given space at any given time. There are certain parts of the tour that have more of an impact when they are experienced with a large amount of other people and there are certain rooms that are intended to have a stronger impact on a single person in the room.
Holocaust Exhibit Room source.http://www.pbase.com/ravenoaks/image/60716038
There are many other elements that make the Holocaust Museum have such an experiential impact on the user of the space. The areas I discussed in my blog today are the ones that I found most influential to my experience. There are countless things to consider when designing exhibition spaces, but one thing should always be at the top of the priorities, and that is to design a space that has provides an experience that impacts the users for years to come.
11 Mar 2011 06:44 pm
Designing for Instutional Environments
The design of institutional environments is something I rarely thought about as an interior design student. That is until we had a lecture on the very topic. During this lecture I learned that the design of these environments is a very important matter. With the proper design we can help enhance the effectiveness of the facility and improve the outcome of the person in the institution. During the lecture I also learned that there are many challenges that face those designing the interiors of institutions. Some of the main challenges involved the elements that evoke human response to those environments.
One thing to remember when designing this type of space is that there are countless factors that dictate the design of them. Perhaps the most important one is that of safety. The design will very greatly depending on the level of security needed for the particular institution. A maximum security facility will have much stricter guidelines on the spatial requirements than a minimum security facility.
One of the things that can be greatly effected is the connection to the outdoors. There have been countless studies that indicated the human response benefit of having a connection to nature. However, the incorporation of this element can be a very large challenge due to security. For example, the windows cannot be large in maximum security facilities. This poses a huge negative factor on the human response of those occupying the space.
Jail Window source.http://www.flickr.com/photos/richgift/181922128/
Another very important thing to consider when designing institutional environments is the elimination of potential weapons with the interior objects and finishes. This involved the consideration of everything. Think about it-how many things can be used as a weapon or a potential hiding space for escape materials in your interior? Are there frames around a chalk board? Can pieces of these be removed and used as weapons against guards or other inmates? Another very important thing to consider is the elimination of potential hiding places with interior finishes and designs. No drop ceilings should ever be used in the inmate areas because these provide perfect hiding places for accumulated weapons or escape devices. Even items such as carpeting should not be used in these areas because it has the potential to be lifted and the area underneath is a perfect area for hiding various elements.
Multiple hazardous interior elements. source.http://www.tin-ceiling.net/tag/drop-ceiling-lighting/
As well, the layout of the design needs to be clear and direct but have limited access for security reasons. This can make the plan seem very closed off and cause a negative human response to the environment.
Example of an Instutional plan. source.http://unstranger.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/pentonville-escape-ridiculous/
In the above image we see an example of a layout of a jail. This has wings that meet in the center observation area. There are security elements throughout the wings as well, but this shows how limited the access is between the spaces. This type of design is imperative for the security reasons of most institutional environments.
Truly, there are many elements that we need to consider when designing institutional environments. We need to design for a positive human response for the occupants of the space. However, we need to base these designs off of strict guidelines centered around security and safety for the guards and the public. These guidelines often pose a conflict ion with designing spaces that evoke positive human responses. However difficult, I feel this is an area that needs much improvement. Maybe with some large advancements with the successful design of institutional environments for human response we can help enhance the conviction of those placed in them. Perhaps these advances will aid in reducing the number of reoccurring occupants from 20% being re-institutionalized six or more times to almost none having to be placed back in the facilities.
09 Mar 2011 08:51 am
Infections in Healthcare Facilities
Health care design is a very complicated type. There are specific systems and approaches for every aspect of their design. This field does not design elements a certain way just because it looks pretty. I find this to be very refreshing. A space may look great, but what does it truly do for the user? I feel this is why health care is such a difficult field to truly master. Although difficult, we can design spaces that fulfill the requirements of the needs of the user while still having a direct and streamlined design.
Health care facilities have transformed very much over history. One of the most prominent figures the progression of designs is Florence Nightingale.
Florence Nightingale. source.http://lfp-blog.com/iconoclast/iconoclast-part-2-of-4-florence-nightingale/
Florence Nightingale was truly an amazing women. Her influence began when she was a nurse in the Crimean War. She would go around and help wounded soldiers from both sides of the war. During this time, she was appalled by the conditions of the facilities that housed the wounded soldiers. The conditions are said to have been filthy, and unsanitary. The wounded soldiers typically were kept in their uniforms that were ridden with dirt and various particles obtained from the war field. This horrible conditions were the cause of serious spreading of infections. The death rate from infection was much higher than the death rate caused by the actual initial wound. Florence Nightingale sought ways to reduce the effects of these horrible conditions.
Example of Florence Nightingale plan. source.http://www.art.com/products/p12371615-sa-i1741155/henry-roberts-florence-nightingale-walks-between-the-rows-of-beds-in-the-barrack-hospital.htm
In the above image we see an example of the type of interior Florence Nightingale created. This typical floorplan maximized efficiency of space by lining rows of beds against a wall with windows. Since religion was a very important factor in society at that time, there was typically an alter in the center of one end of the room. This placed a huge focus on the higher power within the interior. Florence Nightingale’s plan also stressed the improvement of the conditions of the environment. The wounded were placed in beds with clean linens and nurses attended to them regularly. Her transformation of the health care facilities of that time reduced the spread of infection and the death rates caused by that spread dramatically.
Idea of the Cross Plan revision of The Florence Nightingale Plan.source http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/venice-san-marco-pictures/slides/plan3-ca.htm
Unfortunately, infection still spread with the original Florence Nightingale Plan. One of the main reasons for this is because everyone was placed in the same large room regardless of their sickness. Florence Nightingale tried to alleviate this problem by helping with a new design of health care facilities. We get an idea of this new plan in the image seen above. While the above image is not an actual revision plan we get the idea of what it was. It had a cross shape with the nurses area being placed in the center where the wings intersect. This allowed four different quadrants for the patients. With this plan, the patients were grouped based on the type of their aliments. This plan further reduced the spreading of infection with the patients. The image seen below is a view of what the interior of the revised plan would look like.
Revised Florence Nighingale Plan. source.http://www.keystagehistory.co.uk/free-samples/Florence-Nightingale-lesson.html
Florence Nightingale was an extraordinary woman. Not only was she passionate about her profession, but this passion led to great strides of improvement in the health care facilities. Her choice to follow her calling of health care instead of living the life of a woman of high society that she was born into has impacted our health care facilities throughout history. We can only hope a few more of us choose to follow our passions with that same intensity we saw in her.
02 Mar 2011 01:18 pm
Throughout this quarter I have constantly been thinking about how our interior environments effects us on a daily basis. In fact, they effect us constantly. We spend the majority of our lives in interior environments, so it only makes sense that we are greatly affected by these. I have been fascinated with how our environments can aid in our overall well-being for quite some time now. However, even though I have been aware of this it was not until this quarter that I realized just how much effects our response to our built environment.
We respond to the environment through all of our senses. Our senses are stimulated differently based on the elements of the particular environment we happen to be in at the time. Depending on what sense is stimulated can greatly impact our response to that environment. It is easy to only think that we are effected by the visual appearance of a space, but it is truly all of our sense that define our experience. Furthermore, if any one of those senses are hindered due to a disability, we adapt to the space through the enhancement of our other senses.
Also, we are not just effected by the environment itself, but also countless outside influences. Before this quarter, I knew that nature was very personally calming to me. However, I did not realize the immense impact it can have on all areas of design. It has been scientifically proven time and time again that the addition of it in our built environments have an immense impact on our overall well-being. Now this makes complete sense to me. Of course we feel connected to and restored by natural elements because we are genetically more connected to natural environments than our built ones. We have only lived in the type of unconnected built environments of today for a number of centuries. Historically, we have lived in more natural structures for a much greater percentage of our genetic history. This realization had a particularly influential impact on me this quarter. I want to focus my work on the attempt of reconnecting people to the natural environment. I feel that focusing the connection between the built environment and our natural one will help to balance and restore our connection to the greater ecological system.
Above all, I have acquired a heightened awareness to human’s response to the built environment. I find myself watching people in public spaces and mentally noting how they are responding to the environments. I find myself constantly thinking about people’s response to the environment and it’s connection to their overall happiness and well-being. I am inspired at the vast body of research going into the study of how we respond to our environments, and am looking forward to helping advance that information. We spend such a large portion of time indoors, and I feel with the continued study of this topic we can help improve the lives of countless people. At the very least, this quarter has made me extremely aware of our built environment, and furthered my passion to continue to investigate the numerous ways in which our environments impact all of us every day.
02 Mar 2011 12:48 pm
Can Our Environments Heal Us?
Can you remember a time when you had to be in a hospital, assisted living facility or other health care space? How did you feel? Were you stressed or calm? Did you feel healthy or were your ill? Did the way you felt change from before you went inside the health care facility to time time you were inside the space? There are countless things to consider when designing our healthcare environments. Unfortunatly, we are typically very stressed and scared when we are inside these spaces. The reason for this stress most likely was not initially caused by the space, but it can greatly hinder or help our physical state.
Floor Plan of Healthcare Environment source.http://www.heeryae.com/MelMorial/mmh.htm
In the above photo we see a floor plan of a health care environment and just how complicated it can be! There are many areas in a typical hospital to accommodate all of the needs of the patients. One of the major causes of stress in these environments stems from confusion in way finding though the space. If a person is already stressed before he or she comes to the hospital then the last thing needed is to be stressed even more by the confusion of navigation through the space.
Example of Wayfinding source.http://www.wandco.com/106
One of the best ways to help alleviate stress in healthcare environments is through the proper implementation of wayfinding. Since the spaces have the potential to be very confusing consistent and strong signage is imperative for successful interiors. In the above image we see a very nice example of this This signage conveys the information in multiple ways. This reinforces the information while being very universal in design as well.
View of Nature Reduces Stress. source.http://blog.lifechristian.com/?m=201011
As mentioned in some of my previous posts, nature has very calming effects on humans. Countless studies show that when we incorporate views or elements of nature in healthcare environments the patient’s rate of recovery greatly improves. I believe this happens in multiple ways. One of the main reasons is that we are calmed by the views of nature. Therefore when we are exposed to elements of it our bodies are less stressed. When our bodies are less stressed they have more time and energy to focus on healing our aliments. With less stress, we are also happier. Having a connection to elements of nature makes the overall experience of healthcare environments more pleasant.
Decenteralized Nursing Stations. source.http://www.asianhhm.com/facilities_operations/healthcare_design.htm
We need to design our healthcare spaces with a focus on the indificual while still considering the larger picture. The image above shows a floor plan and the zones of the nursing stations. We see a trend happening with a focus on decenteralized nursing stations. This allows for greater time spent with the patient and less time traveling between the retrieval of information and the actual patient. With this added attention we can help heal our patients at a faster rate than without. We, as designers, need to consider spatial allocations for elements such as this in our designs.
Truly, we need to consider many elements when we are designing healthcare environments. We need to offer clean and concise information about wayfinding through the space. We also need to incorporate elements that reduce the stress of the patient and allow them to heal at a pleasant rate. Finally, most importantly, we need to consider the functions of how all people use the space and how we can make this the most efficient and connected as possible. With this, we can truly design spaces that help heal our clients and make the overall healthcare environment as pleasant as it can be.
02 Mar 2011 11:25 am
Human Response to Learning Environments
There are many interior elements that effect our learning environments. If certain elements are implemented properly they can enhance the well-being and improve the academic achievement of the occupants. However, if certain elements are not implemented properly then there can be serious adverse reactions.
Some of the things that greatly effect the interior environment and its impact on learning are: connection to outdoor views, exposure to natural daylight, multiple locations for informal meetings, and the proper implementation of technology.
Educational Environment. source. http://www.designtopnews.com/tag/retail-spaces/
In the image above, we see a learning environment that has multiple positive elements. It has a large connection to the outdoor space. This connection allows views to the natural surroundings as well as sunlight to come into the interior. This space also has multiple areas for informal meeting. These areas allow the students to learn in multiple types of settings. This way the students can cater their learning style preferences based on the flexibility of the interior environment.
Connection To Nature souce.http://www.pgusd.org/measured/pix/pghs.htm
Having a connection to nature is imperative for student achievement. Multiple studies have shown that students with regular access to natural lighting have consistently improved test scores. In addition, other studies have shown that exposure to nature has instantly calming effects on humans. Studies indicate that when students have views to nature they are less stressed. In addition, some studies have said that occupants in educational interior environments that have very little connection to nature or natural day lighting showed an increase in depression rates.
Technology in The Classroom source.http://tusb.stanford.edu/2007/11
Finally, our world is filled with rapidly moving technological advances. Our exposure to technology has transformed the way and rate at which we learn. Technology has also made us a very connected world. This connection has dramatically influenced the way in which we learn. Educational environments are responding to this change as well. New classrooms are designed to provide us with multiple options of learning. The newer classrooms can have the standard set up of the teacher’s post at the front of the classroom and the students lined up to face the teacher. However, the classrooms are designed to also be easily re-configured to provide alternative styles of learning. The furniture needs to be easily adjustable to change from the straight rows to smaller collaborative settings. In addition, educational environments need to equip their spaces with smart technology. This includes multiple elements such as smart boards and wireless technology.
These are some of the major elements to consider when thinking about human response to the design of educational environments. When we consider all of these elements we have the potential to not only increase the level of happiness of the students, but to also allow them to achieve their highest level of academic achievement. It’s amazing what we can contribute with well executed designs!