By embedding research into a subtractive design approach, Architecture Is Fun demonstrates how a calmer, more accessible entry into the Field Museum enhances visitor experience, enables orientation, and re-configures the great hall to be open and free for more than 20,000 visitors per day.
Evidence-based design, research, and data were integral components of our arsenal of architectural tools. For the scientists at the Field Musuem, it was essential that the public space study be validated through quantifiable outcomes. Architecture Is Fun devised a series of experimental prototype layouts and signage tested under controlled conditions. To create openness and accessibility, we modulated pedestrian patterns, benchmarked healthy public space attributes, and removed superfluous signage.
Reducing the amount of transactional space – queuing, coat check, ticket purchasing, questions – from nearly 30% of the hall to under 10%, enhances the visibility of Stanley Field Hall, one of America’s most majestic interior spaces. The act of looking up and the excitement at the prospect of being in one of the world’s greatest natural history museums is no longer relegated or bewildering.
The Field Museum Public Space Study had positive impact on resilience, sustainability, economics, and public engagement. The subtractive design approach allows the public space to be more focused, more efficient, and more mission critical.