Third year students taking the Ambient Experience Design class were tasked with creating an outdoor way finding and identity system that aimed to encourage people to move between the GradEx sites and generally, to improve the ambience of the McCaul Street corridor. Traditionally, at the Gradex, people have spent time at 100 McCaul, and then left. Students exhibiting in the other buildings felt left out. We needed to create a visible, active and inclusive streetscape.
The students, under supervision of professor Job Rutgers, created animated concepts that helped to establish visual connections between the buildings and created beacon like functions to attract people. For example, existing planters along MCaul Street were transformed by Joycelyn and Danillo into moments where people can huddle, sit, relax, and engage, in fun and interesting ways along the street landscape. Miranda and Roxanne designed spatial interventions that produced ‘Instagram moments’ for visitors to take pictures with themselves. The window of the OCADU shop was converted into a large light box, animating the street in day and night. Adam and Max supported the projects with graphic design ideas. Greg Moock helped to build the ideas into reality.
This class was an example of learning beyond the classroom. The opportunity to work with a real problem, some budget and getting to see your ideas through to implementation provided challenges, but also a steep learning curve on design. The initial ideas that arose in the classroom had to be translated into actionable designs and then built. This connection between idea and realization is valuable, but a lot of hard work to get it done. Perhaps the greatest learning is the need for resilience, of which the students showed to have ample!