In Blog task #2 I identified and described a design problem involving the changed arrangements to enter our school during the current period of renovation and rebuilding which is expected to last for 12-18 months. The entrance to the school has been relocated and through my immersion it has become apparent that the new arrangement is ambiguous, and potentially unsafe.
- front entrance will not be available for up to 12 months
- entrances via car park are the only alternatives
- entrance is temporary, therefore cost must be minimal
- the school is surrounded with security fencing, constraining access
- driver behaviour in the car park during the peak period before school is generally poor
- limited time available to solve the problem
- Majority of students are driven to school, parking is always at a premium
- Visitors must be able to enter the grounds
- Peak time of visitor arrivals coincides with beginning and end of the school day and the car park is busy
- Security fence provides a ‘hanging’ space
- Security fence presents a ‘fortress’ view of the school to first time visitors
& Unknown unknowns
- How might we establish how visitors are reacting? [no one has complained]
- How have potential new families responded to a confusing, ambiguous entrance? … sought another school?
- How has the loss of productivity [from constant interruptions, potential for increased work hours, cost of overtime] affected office efficiency as the staff walk the 70+metres to and from the gate to meet visitors?
- How might we know if visitors and community members will accept the change?
- How have visitors reacted to calling and being met at the gate – has this made the entrance to the school easier and more friendly?
How might we utilize the building programme as an opportunity to create a safe and welcoming entrance to the school for all visitors and community members?
Ideate Potential solutions
Give open-ended questions to an inter-disciplinary team [visitor, parent, construction foreman] to seek their responses/ideas/thoughts
Teachers of years 3-6 take their students for a ‘walk through’ – come back and brainstorm their thoughts [post-it notes…or attempt hexagonal thinking?]
Create signage, clear, concise and unambiguous, to set a welcoming tone – – “thank you for your patience during the building programme”…
…being mindful of the ‘user’ eg for the smartphone user, install QR code on fence – link to map, provide phone contact details
consider portable sandwich board signs to offer directions when on the school grounds
create cutouts of a boy and girl student in uniform, walking – add to fence to show the way to the gate
keep the colour palette simple – school colours plus red [where needed to alert to danger]
seek installation of ‘shared zone’ signs at entrance from street to carpark [as is customary wherever people and cars ‘co-exist’
temporarily relocate the welcome sign to the temporary entrance
Create dedicated walkway – from the street to the gate;
paint the bitumen – pedestrian stripes?
Large ‘big friendly giant’ [BFG] footprints?
Safety ‘rope’ to designate end of pedestrian footpath and beginning of carpark ‘road’
quickly produce new signage and paint a walkway
students [accompanied by teachers] and visitors ‘test’ the prototypes to encourage their ownership and therefore their use of the new entrance …
changes are made based on feedback
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