The National Building Museum in Washington DC has long played second fiddle to the more celebrated Smithsonian Institution museums just down the way, and after a visit a few years back, we sort of understand why: there are frequently some fantastic explorations of American architecture and urban design on display there (Auburn University's Rural Studio had its own show when we were there), but the space is so huge and dispersed that engaging with the exhibitions has always been kind of a chore.
Well, no longer, thanks in part to NYC-based interaction design studio Potion, who have taken the fuzzy and sometimes enthusiasm-damping topic of sustainable urban design and made it into something that looks inviting, flexible, and fun:
The exhibition is called Green Community, and it's a fairly good gauge of what the intersection of exhibit and interaction design is looking like these days; namely, lots of large-scale interactive projection that delivers educational content to users used to the stream-of-consciousness access afforded by web browsing.
Jared Schiffman, one of the design leads on the project, described an exceptionally multi-disciplinary design process for the exhibition, with a 5-person team writing software, gathering content, prototyping interfaces, and testing out elements of the exhibition at full-scale frequently. The Transportation Hall depicted in the video proved difficult, given that it had to fill a 40-foot long hallway at the museum and Potion's entire Manhattan office space doesn't span that far -- it had to be tested in segments until the crew started installing down in DC.
Prototyping photos after the jump.
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