Forms in Context: Hybrid Exhibit Environments

Plan and Elevations

Mood Boards

Mood board #1
Final mood board

Initial Design Concept

I visited the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and experienced the Bird Hall which is a hall of birds in which people can learn about different populations of birds and how they became extinct or how they lived. As I was walking through this exhibit I wondered how it could be connected to The Anthropocene and realized that as time passed, bird populations began to decrease because of industrialization and human activity. With this thought, I began to research how and why some populations are endangered or are extinct.

  • Destroying forests and habitats to build new structures
  • Spread of invasive species
  • Collision with man made structures
  • Light pollution the affects the ability of birds to navigate at night
  • Participate in bird monitoring programs
  • Reduce energy and water use
  • Reduce use of pesticides or use natural means of pest control
  • Prevention of trail construction in underdeveloped natural habitats
  • Reduce light pollution
  • Avoid plastic use
  • Create small bird habitats
  • How can I use technology to enhance learning and make it more visual and visceral?
  • How can I create a change in human behavior or mindset with my experience? What am I aiming to shift?
  • How can I present this information in an interesting way?
  • What can users do after this experience? What do I want them to leave with?
  • How much do I want to make the experience informational versus interactive?
  • How much can Miller ICA realistically fit? Is there enough space to include everything? Think about what is essential and what interactions would have the most effect. The space is pretty small and in relation, the concept is very airy and open so that doesn’t really connect. Think about how to make the experience less cramped.
  • Think about how people can walk through and interact with the exhibit without stopping and having the wristband. How can it be more interactive without having a screen and a wristband? Think about ways interaction can be facilitated without a device.
  • People moving through space should triggers things instead of physically interacting. How can the environment transform as people continue through the exhibit? Space as interface.
  • I want a place where they can stop and think about why this is important because it may not be obvious from first glance.

Second Iteration of Concept

Incorporating Internet of Things

  • Visitors scan a thing with their phone as they walk in to the exhibit and as they walk through they can make certain motions to save information which will then be sent to their phone after they leave the experience. This is so that they are not on their phones the entire time scanning qr codes or taking pictures.
  • The first part of the exhibition is to show how humans really don’t understand how our actions have a direct relation to birds because they are so abundant that most people don’t pay attention to them, but once we begin to learn about them, we grow more empathetic. This can be portrayed through the use of projection and physical interaction with birdhouses. As people open the birdcages, a projection will appear to reveal to them information and what the problem actually is. (Gain empathy and present information)
  • The next part is an interactive map that explores what is happening in different parts of the world and then a clock interface or timeline to show how drastic these problems are. For example, certain populations, animals, and plants disappear due to the repercussions of having a low bird population. These changes could be triggered through motion with the interface. Purpose is to show that the environment will drastically change because of human interference with nature and to emphasize the scale of the problem. (Visualize the future if interventions aren’t taken)
  • Immersive room experience where visitors can be shown a more positive future if they take the right steps now. Their motion will dictate the choices they make which will also give them positive interventions they can take. This would be the last part of the exhibition just so they can leave with more optimism. (Create hope for the future)
  • Present problem in a sad way → Provide them with more optimism and options to create positive change.
  • Problem is presented at large scale→ Hone it down to Pittsburgh and individual life.
  • How do I show individual people’s actions having a big impact in both a negative and positive way?
  • How can I experiment with motion, and changing of different sensory elements? What would this add? How would this change the user’s perception of certain spaces and the exhibition as a whole?
  • Storyboard interactions in much greater detail. Keeping in mind what people are doing, where they are doing it, and how many people are doing it.
  • Create interaction in the first part that play with sound, lighting, and motion. Experiment more with motion in the first part, screens take users out of the space which is not the goal so think of ways motion can enhance immersion.

Third Iteration of Concept

First Space: Present information to people in interesting and visual way.

First Interaction
Second Interaction
Third Interaction
Motion light and sound interaction
  • Create more specific storyboards about exactly what would be shown when users walk through the space and floor screen interaction.
  • Usually, when people interact with something, they expect it to happen in front of them but in the first space, the visuals are behind them.
  • Use physical model to test idea and to understand scale.
  • I think that 5–8 actions and consequences would be enough for the second room. 5–8 actions will then show 5–8 consequences for human intervention in nature in regards to birds.
  • In the first space, how do I design it so that the users interaction feels more responsive and that when they move, they intuitively know where to look?
  • For the second space, what is it like to walk through the responsive floor? Should users be given a path or should there be indications that the floor is responsive and allow users to freely explore the space and see how it changes?
  • In the third space, how can users make decisions without physical touch?
Current Configuration
Experimentation with layout
  • Birds control pests. If there were too many grasshoppers or pests, it would destroy crops and fields and people would not have food.
  • Birds pollinate plants and spread seeds. Without them, we would not have many of the flora and fauna that we do now. This can be made personable because people would not be able to enjoy nature to the same extent that they already do.
  • Carcass scavenging. When an animal dies and is still intact, birds like vultures, buzzards, or condors eat the dead bodies. Without this, our world would have much more diseases to deal with.
  • Because they are sensitive to habitat change and are easy to count, birds are an important tool for measuring the health of environments.
  • Habitats like forests, marshes, and grasslands support people across the whole planet, storing carbon, keeping the climate stable, oxygenating the air, and transforming pollutants into nutrients. But without birds, many of these ecosystems would not exist. Birds maintain the delicate balance between plant and herbivore, predator and prey, and are integral parts of food chains and food webs.
  • From the technology of flight, to the invention of zippers, humans have drawn inspiration from birds for centuries. A significant example: Darwin’s studies of finches in the Galápagos proved instrumental in shaping thoughts on evolution through natural selection.
  • After finding out the configuration, think about where sensors for the first room would be so that people already see things as they walk to the space, it’s just the question and exploration of discovering how that image, video, etc. is triggered.
SketchUp drafts
Updated Parti Diagram
New Layout
Color Palette

Interaction 1

For the final model and visualizations, I did not change much about interaction 1, the main problem that I had was space because I had to think about what size the information should be to make it legible and understandable. The descriptions and titles had to be near visitors’ eye level and the actual size of the graphics could not be too small or too big because the distance between the wall and where the users stood was not that large so they couldn’t step further away to see it which is why I could only fit 4 graphics and information about the problem in this interaction. This however, forced me to pick what I believed would be the most important to show to visitors rather than bombarding them with too much information that is too dense and not helpful or informative at all.

Interaction 2

After iterating on concepts and understanding what would be essential for visitors to see in order to grasp the concept of their actions having an effect on declining birds, I decided to simply create a wall that moves with them rather than having a path that they are guided to follow on the floor. In this way, I think it would be more surprising for them when they realize that their motion moves the screen and information is revealed. This also is a metaphor for how humans sometimes don’t know that their actions have consequences that affect people and things other than themselves and they are surprised when they do learn. It may not be delightful or happy, but the information that they are presented with should give visitors a realization into how they are contributing to the larger issue.

Interaction 2 Sketch
Interaction 2 Graphics

Interaction 3

For the last interaction, I had to think about how to get visitors to interact with the wall without having to physically touch it and I also had to figure out how to create a takeaway that would be effective in them wanting to solve these issues after learning about how simple solutions can have large impacts. For the final design, I decided to create small circles with the title of the solution and have a design that was linear so that the user moves from left to right. I also decided to have a small description of how and why the solution should be implemented in order to give a more well rounded solution. For the takeaway, I was deciding on if I should have a qr code at the end in which visitors can scan to receive more information but I thought that this would be too common and not as unique that I would like because it would be as personable as it could be. The solution that I came up for this was to create a table that can print a card detailing the specific path the user took on the decision wall and provide them with more information on implementing that into their lives. In this way, I think the takeaway would be more personalized, specific, and physical leading them to actually want to help contribute to the solution rather than it being a qr code on their phone that they could easily not even look at again. In order to implement the motion tracking, I thought about how the Amazon Go Store has cameras and sensors that detects customers’ movement throughout the store so that they could check out quickly. In this way, I created a qr code that visitors scan when entering the space and as they walk through, sensors and cameras detect what options that chose and when they approach the table, they place their phone on it and it collects information about their movement and immediately prints them a physical card that they can take home with them.

Interaction 3 Sketch
Interaction 3 Graphic
Interaction 3 Storyboard

Physical Model

Final Presentation



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