Margaret Morrison is a historical building within CMU campus and a home for School of Design and Architecture students. Besides the students who occupy the space on a regular basis, thousands of other students use the building, whether to pass by and reach to another building, or to go to a class within Margaret Morrison.
After a series of surveys, observations, and interviews within the people who stay in Margaret Morrison, my group mates and I decided to create an intervention on Margaret Morrison stairwell.
Based on the data we collected, we created a data visualization model of Margaret Morrison Stairwell. Each strip indicates the number of human traffic within 20 minutes. The yellow strip represents the traffic between 12:00 and 1:00pm, while the blue strip represents the traffic between 6:00 to 7:00pm. By making a data visualization model, we were able to identify that more people use right main stairwell of Margaret Morrison than the left.
"How can we redirect the traffic?"
My group mates and I then conducted multiple experiments to find out new ways to redirect the human traffic within Margaret Morrison stairwell.
After conducting 9 separate experiments that have emphasis on different cues (verbal, visual cues, visual associations, etc.), we realized that it is impossible to force people to move in a way that we want them to move. Therefore, we decided to enhance the experience instead. By enhancing the experience, we would be able to make people want to move, instead of forcing them to do so.
"How can we enhance the experience?"
After brainstorming to find different ways to enhance the experience at Margaret Morrison, my group and I settled on hypothetically installing lights to the stairs. The lights come from the flat sides of the stairs and the ceiling, brightening the entire space.
The lights change color according to the time of the day. From 8am to 12pm, the stairs will light up yellow (image on the left). From 12pm to 6pm, white, and 6pm to 12pm, blue.
Additionally, the intensity of light changes when there is high traffic in one but not in the other. When one stairway has more people, the end of the stairs will become dimmer, guiding people to go towards the other side.
This is a short mock-up video of the stairwell lighting up and then dimming its lights. As shown in the video, the sensor at the stairwell changes the intensity of lights according to the traffic.
Above is the final deliverable of the project: a poster that captures the research process, various experiments we have conducted, final intervention, and the next step. By working on this project, I was able to have a general overview of spacial analysis and intervention that works within its constraints.