Space Study: Gates Center
Spring 2017 | with Anna Gross, Christin Kim, and Yoonyoung Kim
The focus of this project was to analyze & understand how people used a space, as well as to become familiar with gathering data. Our group chose to study how & why people moved from floor to floor within the Gates Center for Computer Science. We were drawn to this location because of one of its prominent features, a spiraling, central ramp called the Helix that connected three of the lower floors. After collecting data, we then proposed a design intervention for this space.
All group members helped conduct research, while my individual responsibilities included visual design for the final presentation.
We began by narrowing down the forms of vertical transportation within the building, and discovered that the primary forms were two main stairwells, a set of elevators, and the Helix. Because each of these routes also reached a different range of floors, we limited our research to the floors that could be accessed using all of the routes.
We conducted three rounds of research. The first consisted of a general survey we posted in each of the four routes, in addition to observation of the routes for a hour. After reviewing the data and receiving feedback about our survey questions, we put up a second round of surveys with refined questions that we left up for a longer period of time.
For the third and final round, we decided to focus solely on the Helix. We did so because we noticed that while most people took the other forms of transportation for their convenience or speed, people chose to take the Helix specifically because it was relaxing. We again refined our questions to refer specifically to the Helix, and posted surveys on each floor it reached. This round of research lasted three days.
In addition to the quantitative data we collected, we also conducted interviews with students in Gates Center about their preferred routes. We did this to try to gain further understanding behind why people were taking the routes they did, as well as general opinions on each of the routes.
Our design intervention drew from the data we had gathered about the Helix. Since many users purposefully chose the Helix in order to slow down, we proposed adding a combination of projections or ambient lighting in conjunction with ambient noise to further encourage relaxation and mindfulness.