Wayfinding: People, Signs, and Architecture 0973182202, 9780973182200

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Wayfinding: People, Signs, and Architecture
 0973182202, 9780973182200

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+ y,_;. r---\0 fi"'.ild"'lng process worb 26 5.1 Wayllndlng &11 epallal problem soMng 27 5.2 Declalon making and decision executing 28 5.2.J How declalons are made 28 5.2.2 The stn&cturlng of declBloDS 29 5.2.3 From deelsions lo behavior 31 5.3 Information processing 33 5.3. 1 Environmental perecptlon 33 5.3.2 Envtronmenlal cognition 37



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Part Three: Principles of wayfinding design

Chapt&r6 What is wayfinding design? 42

6.1 Spatial planning 43 6.1.1 Setting the stage 43 6.1.2 The role or decision diagrams in spatial planning 44 6.2 Environmental commurucatioo 45 6.2.1 Communication !or decision making: the script 45 6.2.2 The form or information 50 6.2.3 Communication !or cognitive mapping 51 6.3 An integrated view or wayfiodlog design 52 Chapt1tr 7 Who is involv&d in wayfinding dMign7


7.1 The design profession 55 7.1.1 Architects and urban planners 55 7.1.2 Environmental graphic designers 56 7.1.3 Landscape architects 57 7 .2 Management 56 7.2.1 The owners 56 7.2.2 Building managers 59 7.2.3 Security personnel and fire marshals 59 Chapt1tr 8 For whom do Wit plan?


8.1 User groups 63 8.2 The unimpaired user 63 8.3 Perceptual impairment 63 8.3.1 V'ISual impairment and blindness 64 8.3.2 Hearing impairment and deafness 66 8.4 Cognitive impairment 67 8.4.1 Situational cognitive impairment 67 8.4.2 Developmental cognitive impairment 68 8.S Dllteracy 69 8.5.1 Functional illiteracy 69 8.5.2 Multi-lingual llllteracy 69 8.6 Moblllty Impairment 72 8.6.1 Persons In wheelchairs 72 8.6.2 Moblllty impaired who can walk 72 8.7 Macro- and micro-approaches to planning 73 Chapter9 Planning for wayfinding conditions 76

9.1 Day·lo-day conditions 77 9.1.1 Travel conditions n 9.1.2 Working conditions 78 9.1.3 Playing conditions 79 9.1.4 Retail conditions 79 9.2 Emergency conditions 80

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Part Four: Architectural components of wayfinding design

Chapter 10 Spatial pl..,,nlng 84 10.1 The prooess or planning a layout 85 10.1. 1 ldentllying spaoos and tbelr Identity 85 10.1.2 Orouplngspacee Into destination zones 86 10.1 .8 Lloldngand organlzlogs!l8(l Rlmil)'polM;lheydonotloolilnaubotLOtlaJ(ao tbougblbey1'1"" &hololtocuri).Theylooli ao tbougbtbeybadoubot&ne)ollproperly. &lldbocauolbeolgolndullley. blghlyoopbllllloa1od&lld""U 0qulppod,laoa~leolperionn1D«tl>e.....rtr.oldeoiplnf.ln'1&11-

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Chaple< 5 How the w ayflndlng proc:eu works 5.3 Information processing

There are three different types of braille.

Grade 1 braille is strict transliteration of the original language; however. grade 2 braille,

which includes many contractions, is much more effie:ient to use. Grade 3 is a type of

shorthand and does not concern us here. Onty about one in ten of those registered with blind organizations can read grade 2 braille, although rather more can read grade 1. The assumption that every blind person

can read braille is certainly false.

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• PcrceMng an original sound source in the environment • PerceMng sound produced by the person (e.g., cane lapping) and reflected by objects in tbe environment (ech-looatlon) The value of a sound source for wayfindlng Is often reduced because of the unreliability of tbe source. You can, for example, see a tree from a given distance, but you can only bear It wben the wind blows. Ech-location is more reliable in this sense, but It requires a relatively quiet environment and only works at small distances. You can "bear" a tree through ech-location only if you are direcUy in Iron! of it. II bas been argued that only blind people have developed the ability to use sound to identify objects. We don't think this is so. In an unpublished study done a few years ago (Romedi Passini), blindfolded, sighted subjects were also found, surprisingly. to be capable of ldentlfy!ng openings, barriers, and even relatively smali overhangs through ech-looation. Sounds are perceived regardless ol bead position. Sounds for that reason are excellent warning cues. Crossing a busy slreet without being able to bear is quite an unsetUing experience for anybody. Indeed, deaf people, because they cannot rely on sound signals, tend to be excessively !earful of accidents. To make lhings worse, almost ali evacuation warnJng systems (flre alarms, for example) are based on sound signals. Salety Is probably one of the major conceros or deaf and hearing-Impaired people. Sound, by the same token. ls much more dllficult to screen than visual stimulation. Screening, when using a hearing aid, ls particularly troublesome. This in itself is a good reason why we should be concerned about the sounds eape or our built environment. We are singularly indifferent to noise pollution -even when we know that noise obscures informative sounds and that the effects of noise.on s tress and health have been clearly demonstrated. Tactual and baptie perception apply only to proximal objects. The white cane of the blind person is an extension of his or her a.rm. but that is as far as it goos. The cane sen-es to identify obsta· cles and to follow direction-giving lines such as a curb or the edge or a footpath. Braille and raised letters, raised numbers, and even some raised symbols are read by the blind population. The difficulty with using tactile slgnage, however, ls that blind way!inders fll'St must know where the information Is located before they are able to use it. Furthermore. it has been noted that a social stigma ls attached to tactile exploration. At a conference held by the SOOD (Society of Environmental Graphic Designers) in 1988, a blind speaker, Michele Brule, illustrated this point with the poignant question: "Do you see me exploring the white wali or the Impeccable glass door or the corporate omee in order to find the company's name?" Tactile maps ha"e been shown to be use ful to blind travellers. Just like the reading of braille and of raised letters and symbols, the reading of tactile maps has to be learned. !Wsearchers have identified characteristics of tactile maps that facilitate their use. They have also developed techniques £or producing tactile maps Original from



that have a hlgh detection quality and are eaay and inexpensive to manulacture. Few would argue that we have lost the ablllty to lollow our noses, although our sense or smell ls not usually enough to get us home. Our pereeption or odors Is simply not fine enough to give us many directional cues. Our sense or smell may have some limited use aa a cue for place Identification but It tends to be very unrellable In our contemporary environment. Some research baa shown that stimulations, usually associated with one particular sense, could be perceived by other senses as well. A French psychologist by the name of Duplessis, tried to show that discrimination of colors without sight was possible. According to her studies, about 20 percent of the population is able to discriminate colors by what she calls dermo-optic perception. We tried to replicate the experiments In a wcll-rontrolled study, but

\\'ere not able to produce any similar

fmdings. 18

The meaning or cognilion is knowing and understanding. Two aspects or environmental cognition can be dlstlnguished: 1. The knowledge peopl e have about the given components or a setting, such as the buildings they remember in a cityscape 2. The understanding or the spatial characteristics or a setting, whlch has already been described as a cognitive map

In ~rfume,

1' a novel by the German author

Patrick SQskind, Grenouille is a malevolent genius and master perfumer who is morbidly fascinated by his skills. He conceives the idea of capturing and preserving the fragrance of (not for) a particular girt. By his nose, he locate$ her - even though she lives on the other side of the city. One day he steps outside his workshop and immediately knows that something is wrong . . . "The atmosphere was not a.s It should have been, from the town's aromatic garb, that veil of many thousands of woven threads, the girl's golden thread was missing ... it was gone, vanished, untraceable despite the most intense sniffing." Even though the girt leaves town, Grenouille, using "the compass of his nose," follows her half.way across France, murders her, and at last successfully captures and distills the essence he has sought for so long.

The things we remember It may be or interest to know which buildings people remember best, but more important for the planner ls an understanding or the physical and non-physical characteristics that make buildings memorable. Researchers studied these characteristics and arrived at four !actors that enhance memory for buildings In a cityscape:

t. The rorm or the building; us size, contours, compleXity or shape. and uniqueness or architectural style 2. Vlslblllty and access: pedestrian access and the posslblllty or moving around the building 3. Use; II a building had an Important !unction and was used orten, It was also well remembered 4. Symbolic slgnlllcance: elderly citizens were particularly aware or historical and cultural meanings associated with buildings" Cognitive mapping The representation and mapping or the spatial characteristics or the environment has been a subject or research and debate for many years. Research in the early 70s aimed at dm'Oloplng a typology of cognitive maps. A distinction was made between two types of cognitive mapping: l. People may structure the environment in terms or routes, that is,

the points where they change direction, the angle or directional change, and a measure of tne distance from one point to ana other. Digitized by


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Chapter 5 How the wayflnding process wons

5.3 Inrormation processing

2. People may record the topographical relationships between critical elements or the explored environment directly, without relying on a specific route or decision pla.n. The first type or structuring has been referred to as egocentric and sequential, leading to a representation in the form of a strip or route map. The seoond type has been referred to as coordinate, leading to a representation in the form of a survey map.10 In the procese or mapping a new environment, some research-

ers showed that people tended to start by recording landmarks a.nd


used them as a.nchor-points to subsequenUy 1111 in the paths;"

others have assumed paths and districts to be the original structuring element." The choice may well be detennl.Ded by the type or environment and the predominance ol one or the other ol these !eatures as much as by personal pre!erence. During the last decade, some oognltlve and environmental psychologists have made a distinction between two types ol representations: I. A propositional representalion Is seen to be schematic and somewhat abstract In nature; the representation ol a setting based on personal exploration tends to be or that order. 2. An analogue representation ls seen to be figural and ~talt­ llke In nature; learning a setting from a physical map can be seen to result In a figural representation."


Sketd\ rn1ps of ""'

q-.1.nc1.-. nate structuring of


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The distinction is or interest because different characteristics are associated wltb each type or representation. The representation or a route learned !rom a physical map (analogue representation) tends to be oriented. One will ·see· a map in one's mind's eye, although it may have to be turned to align with the setting. The representation o! a route learned wbJJe exploring a setting (propoeitionai representation) is not oriented a.nd therefore is more Oexible in usage. On tbe other ba.nd it may be less precise." Research has shown that both representations can coexist even U they contain contradictory information. It ls one thing to have a representation or a setting. It is quite another to manipulate Ibis representation so that it can be used to solve waylinding problems. In order to study these spatio-cognitive manipulations. we have ldentiJled as many basic wayflndlng tasks as possible." For each. we have detennl.Ded the necessary spatioognlttve manipulation. Se\'On distinctive tasks and seven corresponding spatio-cognitive manipulations are retained as crucial !or waylindlng. They are summarized here.

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Buie -.ytlndlng task

Correo-ding spatlo-oognltlve manipulation


learning a new rout0

recording a decision plan and/or dlMlloplng a cogn!Uve map

2. returning IO the point of origin

(ret.....,,gooe'• stepo)


botk w•yflndlng

tnb and the c°"""

ponding splOtlocognttive m11nipul• tiom.

inverting a decision plan or

the mapped route

8. linking known routes to new configurations

combini.Dg decision plans or

•ectlons of mapped routes Into new combinations

4. learning a route trom a am.all

m&klng a tr&D.Sfer of scale

c!Japlay and malclng the journey 5. polnllng IO the dJJ'ectioD6 ol 1cations Wiled on a journey

malclng a triangulation

6. lcamlng a route from a DOD·

malclng a mental rotation

aligned c!Japlay 7. understanding the overall lay·

out of a viaited setting

ldentllylng the underlying principle ol spatlal organlzatlon

This short overview ol wayllndlng demonstrates how Interesting and complex the process ts. Considering tbat every journey we ever make Is based on wayllndlng, tbe process works surprisingly weU. With the exception ol some specific spa~goltlve operations, such as mental rotation, people are quite skilled at spatial problem solving. The wayf111ding dilllculties they have are usuaUy due to particular features of the environment. It may, for example, be difficult to understand the spatial organization of a setting because It is too complex or, more likely, because it Is not clearly articulated. On the other hand, relevant Information may be dilllcult (or Impossible) to obtain or to understand.

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Part Three: Principles of wayfinding design

Chapter 6

What is wayfinding design? Wayfindlng requirements, whether they be at the regional, urban, or architectural scale, are Integral to tbe design process - from tbe most general, overall spatial organization of the setting to the articulation of tbe form-giving festures, and right down to the Individual architectural and graphic messages. Wayftndlng requirements shape the setting, allect the choice of the circulation system, and contribute to the design of tbe Interior. Tbls ls particularly true In large building complexes. The enormous Impact ol wayflndlng cooslderatloos on the outcome of the design of a setting Is one of the reasons we feel justtned In using tbe term "wayflnd.lng design." The other reason Is strategic. Wayflndlng Is a very Important aspect of dally We and bas been neglected for so long that we want to give It Its rightful place on tbe drawing board. We are totally convinced on this subject. Even II It can be argued that, In tbe past, the built enVlronment was relatively simple and clear, this Is certainly not true of today's mammoth building complexes. When "wayllndlog design" becomes a consideration In Its own right (llke "HVAC" or •emergency exit procedures"), planoers wW be made aware that It Is a vital part of design, and II they pride themselves on being professionals, they should know about It. Wayllndlng design Is also a principle. It Is user oriented and derives Its approach and Its Interventions from the behavioral and psychological fonndatlons of wayllndlng. l!lllclent, accessible, sale, and spatially attractive wayflndlng environments can be designed only when the principles of wayflndlng are understood and when this knowledge Is translated Into applicable form. Tbe aim of this chapter ts to make the link between design and the wayflndlng principles Introduced previously. Two aspects of wayflndlng design wW retain our attention: spatial planning and environmental communication.

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6.1 Spatial planning Wayflndlng occurs Jn space. The spatial cba.racterlstlcs or a site, that ls, Its size, Its organization, and the nature or Its elreulatlon systems, all contribute In one way or another to the way!lndlng dllficultles that confront the site's users. Spatial planning provides the context !or wayflndlng and sets the stage !or the problem-soMng per!ormance. Spatial planning determines the location of the entrances and exits or a setting, the location of the major destinations and, there!ore. the nature of Its circulatlon system, the organization of Its spaces, and the visual accessibility of Its architecture. Spatial planning not only defines the wayfmdlng problems or the future users. but affects the ease or difficulty they wUI have in understanding and cognitively mapping the setting. Spatial planning is, therefore. the first major component in wayfmding design.






first wa.yflnding design component:

spatial pllnnlng. Setting the stage for


the probfem-solvlng performance.

Settings need not necessarily be simple !or people to fmd their way adequately. Waylindlng-i!fficlent environments can be spatially Interesting, even complex. It would be erroneous and dangllrous to suggest a return to over-slmpllclty. Boredom ls not particularly suited !or efficient wayllndlng. The challenge !or way!lnding design, we feel. is to create Interesting settings that allow for gratifying spatial experiences and that are sale, accessible, and waylinding.cllicient, despite any complexity they may have.' Spatial planning has traditionally been the domain of architects and urbanists. Although the spatial layout and the circulation system undeniably emerge from a number of considerations, such as the functions of the facilities contained in the setting, the servic.

ing or the setting, the site, and the neighboring architecture. it is wayfmding and circulation that constitute the prime space-binding !actor. In airports, public transportation terminals, health..:are !acilitles, and many other public settings that have to accommodate

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Chapter6 What Is wayflndlng d..lgn7

large amounts of tratnc. the spatial organization ls the dlrect expression of circulation and wayllndlng.

6.1 Spatial planning

decision diagram: a diagram established for design or research purposes. showing the desired way for users to solve wayfinding problems cledsJon plan: the mental solution to a wayfinding problem as It is developed by the


Wbat makes good spatial planning? To answer lhis question satlsfaclorUy, we have to return IO lbe notion of decision pl&ns. Let's reealJ that a decision pl&n Is the user's solution to a wayllnding problem posed by the spatial organization and the associated cfl'hlc Dttlgnen (SEGO), Cambridge, Ma5SadluMtts.

Environmental communication is a blanket term the.I embraces architectural information as well as graphic and verbal (or audible) communication within a given setting. Environmental grapblc design is a relatively new calling, dating only from the early 606. Until recently, it recruited its members exclusively from the ranks of graphic designers. In the early 70s the Society of Environmental Grapblc Designers (SEGO) was formed with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and ever since has assumed a leading and inOuential role In raising professional standards and in broadening an understanding of the graphic designer's function in the environmental and architectural contexts. The SEGO bas also taken a lively and intelligllnt interest in education - so far. hov.rever. in the race or a less-tban·li\•ely response from the groves of academe. The institutions of learning clalm that their curricula are already lull and that they cannot, therefore, accommodate new courses on subjects like environmen· ta! communication. Tbls ralses a problem In that Increasingly in future, arcbltects and grapblc designers will have to be forming closely knit collaborations In the development of environmental communlce.tion and very few Institutions are Interested In preparing them for tbls. The role of the arcbltect In wayllndlng design has been described in the preceding section. In any case, the role ol the arcbltect has always been well established and we aU know wbat architects do. Whal. however, does the graphic designer do In tbls new context of collaboration on environmental communications projects? His or her prime contribution is a thorough knowledge of the effective planning and organization of twaogiog. W&yfinding (In Its true sense) Is now one of their criteria and 1.8 just about as Important as any of tbe others. Aller all, wbeo one comes to think of It, wily shouldn't It be vital ll'om a tenant's viewpoint that visitors should be able to • slngie out and ldeotlly tbe building itself from Its neighbor, • know bow and where to enter tbe bulldlng. • park their veblcles easily, and find their way back to them wbeo they have llnlsbed their business, • understand wbere they are In tbe bulldlng, • develop an action plan on tbe route that they will take to gilt to the tenant's office or laclllty, • execute that plan easily and eHectlvely. • If redirected. find other offices or facilities in the complex jUBI as easily, and finally, • quit the premises al the exit of their cboice. The dlllereoce between eucb a building complex and one that bas none or only a few or these advaola!l'ls ls that the former has a distinct marketing~ because visitors will feel that It was a pleasure doing bueine88 (or shopping or whatever) there and will Digitized by


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MLDt to oome back ap.l.n. There la real evidence to show, by oontraat, that people will deliberately avoid. il they have the choloe. bulldlng eomplexes lhat Ignore the wayflndl.ng oomponent.

The proliferation of slgn8 la to no one's advantage. Not the d6algner, wbo la Invariably blamed for lousing up a bulldlng wlth "too many• signs. Not the archltect, wbo regards them aa ·unnecee11&1')'. " Not tbe owner. wbo must pay for them and maintain them. And laat, but far from leaat, not the publle. which, at best, ls merely bemused when confronted by "too many" signs. The question or why there are ao many signs (If Indeed tbere are) ls rarely aaked, and just aa rarely answered. Here are a !cw topics on this subjoot that relate to the wa.y the building Is managed (aa distinct from the wa.y It was bullt and whether the wayllndlng component waa considered In Its planning): • At every decision point en route to destinations that requires a sign. tbe question to ask la whether Visitors are routed In a manner that requires the minimum number or decisions: are they, In other word&, being routed lnefJiclently? • U the wbeelcbalr route la cllllerent from the pedeelrian, wtU that !or even more 1.lgn1? • In an olllee building or a bole>

  • l1ll'"11lieoecond...,,.¥I• 1

    ~"""'"1llto011•blaolO!Ht~m) Snmelhln«Lh&1muotbeoonoldered"1>Hl~ln(LJ'll0""\ O( adlllt;~ndlo LbelW &Liontfln(-oection


    Wedeal el--(-oeC!mwn belgbt for signs to be orr the floor (oee ..nioo 15.4) In an attempt to strike a reasonable comproml8e that will accommodate everyone. Aoceaa to Information la crucial for the mobility impaired. Signe tbal are up e--en a email OJgbt of stairs (and that are not dupUeated at the bottom) are, ol course, useleBS. Signs that are not legible from the distance at which Ibey are intended to be seen mll)I not be useleea. but tlley do require addltlonal (and unnecessary) movement. Yelling glare oll algne (which ellectlvely renders them Weglble)

    may be worse at the eye level of persons In wheelchairs than for standing people. And whereas the able bodied can usually maneuver about to avoid the effects or glare, persons In wheelchairs have much more difficulty doing so. People on crutches mll)I have even leea maneuverability. Signs are routlne\y obscured on tile ground by planten and on the eeWng by ductwork or even by other signs. Apin. the unim· paired can make elforta to cope with this (assuming tbat Ibey eee the sign& are there at all), but the dlsabled have much more dlfD.. cull)' In eeelng tbat the sign& are tllere or In doing &QYtlllng about catching a glimptlO or them.

    8.7 Macro- and micro-approaches to planning • AcccBS to lnlormatlon" ls what It's all about and, In the Ugtit of the new-found Interest In, and concern for, the problems of the disabled, the quoatlon arises: How do we go about planning environmental communications In tho first plaoo? Selwyn Goldsmith distinguishes two dlllerent design approaches.' ' Tho ·macro-approach· sets a bJgb standard within which the disabled are treated as ·normal.· Their needs, In terms of physical requirements, are accounted for as & matter of course. Tbe usual provisions for the whole population become accommodating lor them as .... u. The macro-approacb trtes to make all buildings """""81ble to all l)'pe8 of users. In the "mlcro-approaeb,• h""1!\-el', the disabled person la treated as a special case with specific requirements which can be accommodated 0111¥ by provisions made espeg coodltlons are tboee In wblcb the provisions for waytindiiig In a g!ven se(tlng are JJMl&8ured exclusively In terms of thel(elllclenri)u>ncy and ba,,, the informallon al their d1spoe&I tbal wiJI enable them to make - and execute - appropriate wayllndlng decisions. Complex settings, 0\'90 U they are .,..,u deelped In terms of wayfindlng and have the nece81&1)1 pl'OY!&lons for the disabled population, still need a plan !or evacuation. Large eenlngs usually bave lire o!llcera In realdenoe who are responsible for eY11CUallon. In some countrtee. such aa the United Kingdom, great lmportanoe Is given to assisted escape. Certain OCC11pant1 of a eettlng will be assigned the responsib1llty of helping an Impaired fellow worker to eecape. Sime and Gartshore, for example. analyzed the time required to evacuate a wbeelebalr user through a stairway and have commented on the Interfercooe this bas with evacuallon in general.' Several European countries (France and Italy. to name two) noqulre the frequent and prominent display or(/Teen (note the color!) "Sale exll arrows" In all public spaoea - from department stores to museums to hotel corridors. These point to the closest exit from the building. To sum up: In terms of cmcr~ncy wayflndlng, Information Is the answer. II can reduce anxiety, and It can reduce the elloet.s of overload. Finally, Information can lead to more elficlcnt cseape behavior. However, an Important point should be made here: we do not need more information (certainty not more signs). We do, however, need lnlormatlon that is more aocurate and relevant to waylindlng.

    Settings should be planned with all th.roe ~lndlng conditions - normal, rec:reallonal, and emcr~ncy - In mind, and apec:lal escape routes should be eliminated or kept to a minimum. U a setting works well under normal oonditlona, It wiJI have a better chance of working .,,,u In emergency condlllon1. Special provision• and controls will st!U be needed. but they aro not the key lsaue. The prime insurance !or public safety la good wayllndlng deelgn.

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    Part Four: Architectural components of wayfinding design

    Chapter 10

    Spatial planning The dllllculty of a wayllncllng task Is al!ected by two maJor physical factors: the layout of tbe setting and tbe quality of tbe environmental oommunlcatlon. The layout Is dellned by Its spatial content, Its fonn, its organization, and Its clrculaUon. Environmental oommunlcatlon Includes all of the ardlJtec. tural, audible, and graphic expressloDB that provide tbe easentlal lnformallon for wayllndln&. In thl& chapter we look at tbe 11.r&t Item, the layout and 118 planning. The layout of a setting Is ooncelved at a very early stage In tbe planning proce8$. Wayllndlng problem& are Intimately lillked to tbe oonJlguratlon of the layout. It Is tberelore never too early to think about wayllndlng.

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    10.1 The process of planning a layout Seen lrom a wayfinding perspective, three phases or spatial planning stand out: • Identification ol the consliluent spatial units

    • Grouping of spatial units into destination zones • Organization and linkage ol units and zones Whether planning a new setting or renovating an existing tayoul, lhe process is similar, although the relative importance or each phase varies according lo the extent or the intervention.

    Planners are usually given a design program which spectlies the gC of shop, the washrooms, or \\rhatever. Each individual space in a setting is a potential destination. Any complex setting has a great number of destinations, and if it "'·ere not for the grouping of similar destinations into zones it would be very difficult !or people to !ind their way. J us t imagine a building, such as a hospital. in which each room was allocated by chance. Clearly It would be total chaos. and even With the most Original from



    sopblstlcated lnlormation system it would be impossible to guide stall, patients, and visitors to their destinations. Destination zones operate at dlllerent levels. Let us introduce this notion with the help ol an everyday example: a person shopping tor a particular food item in an urban context. In order to buy, let's be extravagant, a rare Russian caviar in a complex multi-

    purpose downtown facility, the person will probably consider the shopping area as a fll'St destination zone which distinguishes itself from other zones such as office or residential. Within the shopping zone, the person will look for a sul>-zone that groups food products, tor example, a supermarket. Even at that level we can consider the speciallty counter to be a sul>-zone of the supermarket. Destination zones are therefore composed of sul>-destlnatlon zones which are In tum composed of sul>-sul>-destlnation zones. Tbe proper articulation of destination zones affects wayfmding in two ways. It facilitates the cognitive mapping process by emphasizing the spatial units to be mapped, and it supports the decisionmaking proce88. Looking at decision diagrams, we fmd that in complex buildings, "to reach a major destination zone" Is a higbel" order decision.

    It is crucial that waylinders be able to ldentily certain spatial characteristics that allow them to group destinations Into zones. Like any other grouping or classification, two foroes are at work: Identity and equivalence. /Mntit11. as we have already outlined, is the characteristic that allows us to differentiate one space from another. Equivalence is the characteristic th.at allows us to group them into zones along some common traits. In order to distinguish one destination zone

    from another, the zones must have distinct features, but the spatial units within a zone have to have some common characteristics. Tbe spaces needed for a particular function usually share certain physical characteristics. All shops, for example, have something In common. By grouping spaces according to their !unctions, the designer creates destination zones which distinguish themsel,·es from other zones. Large unifunctional settings, on the other hand, may not have distinguishable destination zones. Visitors tend to be faced with

    almost insurmountable difficulties In mapping the setting because everything looks more or Jess the same. Uniformity does not favor decision making. In a previous chapter we said that spatial planning sets the stage for w&)11nding. The truth of this statement ls brought out again. The development of an adequate slgnage system depends on a clear ldent1Hcatlon of destination zones. Where else can you direct people? In some large commercial complexes. designers have successfully introduced .. artificial.. destination zones by giving each zone

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    tance along the coordinate lines. From the Romao military camp to our contemporary cities the arrangement of buildingt and atreell tenda to colTKpOnd to a coordinate system. By contrut, the Japanese urban address sys~ Is quite cll!lerent. Rather lban being organlzed by coordinates. It Is based on a

    nested spaoo syatem. II de.ICrlbes a destination by a sequence or areoa going lrom the large city scale (the shf) to the small neighborhood scale (the machi). Although the system Is dllllcull In terms or Independent wayfinding, the Japanese have resisted changing It. The nested system is more than just a way or descrtl>ing a destination, It reflects the ooeio-opatial reality of the Japanese eeml-autonomous neighborhood.' HJervdllcal nelWOric

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    linked together. The administration has not been able to decide whether to organize the hospital as one complel(. wit h a main entrance, or as a number of semi-autonomous sections, each with its own entrance. The

    11.2 Exits The.exit of a building requires particular consideration. Although it is the same architectural element as an entrance. from the user's

    situation shown reflects that ambiguity.

    point of view it is certainly not seen the same way. The perception or the exit is olten limited to the actual doors and most or the t ime they are seen only a t short range. Exits are important when wayfmding- they represent s ulH!estinations when people arc leaving a setting.

    The wa)11ndlng tasks or reaching an e ntrance arc quite different rrom those !or an exit. For the unJamiliar visitor, the entrance has first to be found, while the exit in most settings requires a s imple return to the point or entry. IC people are able to map their en· trance route, they will require only limited environmental inform.a·

    tion to return to the exit. In a recent wayfinding experiment in a labyrinth, we were able to show that most people were able to point Digitized by


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    contalnlng,.hlel.ofliN>,._.1,..,...,-nl lnlormallon syatema go band In band. The basic Information about entrances. exli.. tbe location ol patlu and vertical--· and the nature ol the c!=lallon syatem are all in the realm ol arehltectural oommuoleallon. Oraplllc lnlormation may v.'lill reilllorce and deccrlbe tbe cltcul&tloo In more delall but ii can rarely effectively replace mlHlng or mlsplaood archlteo-

    tural informalion. The legibility ol entrancee and exlta Is &ttected by tbc angle ol approach. The decreaae ol leClbUUy lmpoaed by tbc stcep11C88 or tbe angle ol approach can be oompenaated lor by the arehltootural treatment ol the entrance. Projected and rooesscd entrancee bclgbten leglblllty from an obllque approach. Marquees, portico•. and colonnades have a slmUar lmp8CI. Landscaping and the arrangemonta ol paths provide atroog eues to locate an entrance. II tho entrance Itself ls not vlsu&Uy accessible, sueh as In an Indirect aece88. the communication taak !alls on landscaping - or on &Igo&. Apart lrom the architectural and decorative expre88lon ol the entrance ltBeU, the lorm ol the layout and or tho corresponding !~es can Indicate the locatlona ol tho entrance&. Oates communicate transition lrom one domain to another. They also communicate the point of entry Into a de&tlnatlon zone, but they signify In addition the nature or tho domain. aa wcU as who may enter and under what conditions. Tran<lon points. It Is recommended. should be oxpro88ed at all levels lrom the largest unit (the city) au the way down to a apoclllc place or destination zone.

    •• Communicating the elrculatlon sy&tcm 18 probably the most dllficult aspect ol architectural "'llyllndlng dealgn. At the same time, It Is most uaelul lor elllclent wayllndlng. The circulation system can be communicated through both the lorm and the volume or the building. Spatial articulation la tbc key to understanding a setting. In addition, we recommend that clrculatloa be considered as more tban just a link between space&. Circulation Is spaoo and 18 therelore also architecture. AU ol lta elcmenta (llates. entrances and exil8, paths, \"ertlcal access, and "''en the ooollgu.ratloo ol the cireulatlon pattern) can ba\'e architectural exp.....,lon. They can be gl\"en aulonomous lorm "111cb can make !or Interesting and D

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    esthetteally pleasing buildings and, at tbe same time, for excellent wayOndlng design. Proper articulation of the circulation system ooupled with the expression of destination zones will create distinctiveness, thereby giving landmark quality to these architectural elements. Finally, W1l reiterate the importance of redundancy in wayfmding communication. The use of multiple means to communicate the same information is tbe best guarantee that the message gets across. In oonsidering the needs of the perceptually impaired population, redundancy ougbt to be extended to include dllterent sensory modalities. Rather than relying exclusiVely on visual means of oommuolcatlng information, we should use auditory, tactile. and kl.netlc means as W1lll.

    Original from 140


    Part Five: Graphic components of wayfinding design



    Chapter 12

    Classification of graphic information Our abllity to cluslly, and therefore to structure, Information ls at the basis of all knowledge. U It ls not mankind's greale61 gilt, It ls oortaln.ly one of them. . The abllily lo recognize and articulate lbe components In a slgnage problem puts us already close lo Its solution. We have

    found the cluslllcallons that comprise this chapter very useful In practice.

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    Different circumstances having to do with the particular functions of the building in which the information desk ls located will dictate other requirements, but these are the most basic.

    16.1 lnformalion desks

    With the advent of electronic directories (see section 15.5.4), the information desk and its attendant have in most types of bulldings gone the way of tellers in banks with the widespread introduction some years ago of automatic teller machines (ATMs). Visitors looking !or a human source or Information now nod, as we observed in the preceding section, security guards who may, or very well may not, be prepared to provide wayfinding information. In any case, because the prime responsibility of these person· nel is security, it is extremely unlikely that they will have been exposed to any sort of training in dealing with visitors' questions. much less in helping people with impaired speech, hearing, or sight. In wayfinding terms. this ls regrettable because, as we have so frequently stated throughout this book, wayflnding Information is not Umlted to architecture and signs. It ls also verbal and aural. We know that speech ls actually the preferred medium lor most perfectly able-bodied people to receive certain types or information particularly that type which used to be \be main purpose lor having an information desk in the ftrs t place, namely, to provide directions to destinations. If given the choice, most of us would much prefer to be told how to get there, rather than having to figure ii out from a directory, a sign. or even a map. For one thing, when you ask directions or people. you can get an idea of whether or not they know what they're talking about (and therefore whether or not their inlormatlon Is reliable). This you cannot do with signs and maps which, you may have learned from experience. may or may not be.trustworthy sources orinformation. A person can explain to you in detail (and more than once, if necessary) how to get to a give-a destination and can trace a route on a map which you can take with you. These are things no s tatic sign could ever be expected to do. All or these things are, admittedly. precisely what sophisticated interactive video systems are designed to do - right up to and including providing the '1sitor v.1th a printed map. The point is tha t this form of interael1on, whether with a Jive human being or with a machine, Is a desirable part or obtaining directional information. II information is to be imparted in the old-fashioned way, person to person, it should be done in such a way as to take into account that visitors may have articulation, bearing, seeing, or understanding problems. In other words, attendants should be trained to deal with these disabUitles in an understanding manner. They should. !or example, enunciate each word clearly. look vis~ tors squarely In the lace wblle talking, and never put their hands to their mouths (or llddle with their moustaches) while they are talking. They never know when they may be talking to someone Digitized by


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    who is Up-reading or hard or hearing or bllnd. (Giving lnrormatlon to the blind requl.ree special training. referred to In section 8.3.1.) Attendants should be trained In the uoo or touch-scrocn elcotronlc video equipment to obtain tnrormaUon about M:llvltles, events, COlll'8-e all th.lnp. bnwe\-er, the allendant should be underai.ndlng and Ul