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COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND TWO TWELVE EXPLORE TOD IN HAWAII!

Two Twelve Principal and Columbia Universityu Adjunct Ann Harakawa and Columbia University Adjunct Professor Kaz Sakamoto offer a GSAPP Workshop called Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Futures...

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Wayfinding Handbook
Culture parts

About Us

Everywhere we go, we encounter implicit and explicit cues to guide us, from environment and behavior to graphics and manuals. In complex environments, these cues become part of a system that can assist people to sort through data, fill out a form, absorb new information, or navigate a place.

That's our realm. We specialize in creating public information design, the planning and presentation of complex information to diverse users and audiences. From signage to strategy, we design thoughtful, user-centric systems designed to navigate, inform, communicate, and create new visions of the world around us.

Our roots are in wayfinding, the art and science of helping people find their way. That's where we got our start, but we’ve since expanded our expertise to diverse and ambitious initiatives. Public or private, these initiatives can only succeed if they are effective in persuading stakeholders. Consulting with leaders in business, institutions and government, we use the tools of information design, data visualization, and interactive media to provide engaging narrative frameworks for big ideas, clarifying supporting information, creating a roadmap for implementation and making these accessible to all. 

So when visitors approach a building or public place, our designs help them to enter it and locate their destinations. And when clients or constituents approach complex information, we help them absorb it by organizing data, images, text, and other components. We tackle these projects strategically, knowing that strong branding and a unified context leads to powerful results. 

clients and collaborators

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc

Alpha Partners

American Airlines Center, Dallas

American Institute of Graphic Arts

Apollo Theater

Arts, Culture, Philanthropy & Advocacy

Atlanta Federal Center

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Barnard College

Bayhealth Medical Center

Bear Stearns

Bellevue Hospital

Beyer Blinder Belle

Bike New York

Bloomberg LP

Boston Children's Hospital

Boston Properties

Brennan Beer Gorman/Architects

Bridgeport Intermodal Transportation Center

Brookfield Properties

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Brooklyn Museum

Bruce Mau Design

Cambridge Seven Associates

Canizaro Cawthon Davis

Capital Properties

Carnegie Hall

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Central Synagogue

Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A.

Chicago Park District

Cho Benn Holback + Associates

Cigna

Cincinnati Transit Authority

Citibank, N.A.

Citigroup

City of Charlotte

City of Chicago

City of Hartford

Civic Entertainment Group

Cleveland Orchestra

Collins Center for the Arts

Columbia University

Comcast

Cooper, Robertson & Partners

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Cosentini Associates

Counter Restaurant, Manhattan

Daniel Frankfurt, PC

David & Peggy Rockefeller Collection

David M. Schwarz Architects

Davis Brody Bond

DIA Center for the Arts

Disneyland, Anaheim

DMJM Harris

Downtown Alliance

Downtown New York River to River Festival

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore

Downtown Partnership of New York

Duke Medical Center

Durham Parks & Recreation Department

Earl Swensson Associates

Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects

Election Assistance Campaign

Empire State Building Company

Empire State Development Corporation

Ennead Architects

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Five Front, Brooklyn

Flack + Kurtz Inc.

Flad & Associates

Ford Foundation

Grand Central Terminal

Greenberg Consultants Inc.

Gruzen Samton Architects

H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture Associates

Hargreaves

Hillwood Development Corp

Hines Limited

Historic Battery Park

HKS, Inc.

HNTB

HOK

Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project

HR&A Advisors, Inc.

Hudson Fairfax Partners

Hudson River Piers 88 & 90

Clients column 2

Ike Kligerman Barkley

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne University

International Fellowship Fund

Jack L. Gordon Architects

James McCullar & Associates Architects

Jewish Community Center

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Jones Lang LaSalle

Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Lenox Hill Hospital

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

M. Paul Friedberg and Partners

Macy's Herald Square

Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church

Maestri, LLC

Maryland Transit Administration

Massachusetts Department of Public Works

Massachusetts General Hospital

Meadowlands Xanadu, New Jersey

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Mercy College

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

MetroTech Business Improvement District, Brooklyn

Mets Development Corporation

Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Middlebury College

MoMA QNS

Mondawmin Mall, Baltimore

Montgomery College

Montgomery Watson Harza

MTA Long Island Railroad / Long Island Bus

Nashville Symphony Orchestra

NAT's Kids, Brooklyn

New Amsterdam Theatre

New Jersey Transit

New York Botanical Garden

New York City Center

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

New York Institute of Technology

New York Jets and New York Giants

New York Law School

New York State Urban Development Corporation

New York University

New York University Langone Health

New York Zoological Society

Newhouse School of Public Communications

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

Northern Arizona University

NYC Department of Consumer Affairs

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

NYC Economic Development Corporation

NYC Housing Authority

NYC Municipal Water Finance Authority

NYC2012 Organizing Committee

Office of the Mayor of New York City

Office of the Mayor of Washington, DC

Ohio University

Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis

Packer Collegiate Institute

Parsons Brinckerhoff

Patrick L. Pinnel Architect

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Perkins + Will

Perkins Eastman Architects

Pier 12, Brooklyn

Populous

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Princeton University

Prudential Douglas Elliman

Punahou School

Clients column 3

Quartararo & Associates, Inc

Queens West Development Corporation

Quennell Rothschild & Partners, LLP

R.M. Kliment & Frances Halsband Architects

Radio City Music Hall

Rafael Vinoly Architects

Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention

Restaurant Associates

Reynolds Performing Arts Center

Rhode Island Airport Authority

Rhode Island School of Design

Robert Hatfield Ellsworth

Rockefeller Center Retail Concourse

Rockwellgroup

Rubenstein Technology Group

Sam Schwartz Engineering

Scenic Hudson Land Trust

Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Sound Transit, Washington

South Street Seaport & Marketplace

Sowinski Sullivan

St. Mark's Cathedral

Standard & Poor's

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Steelcase, Inc.

Sterling Equities

Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse

Stubbins Associates

STV Incorporated

SUNY Albany: Arts & Sciences Building

Swiss Bank Corporation

T. Rowe Price Associates

TAMS Consultants

Ten W Architects

The Art Directors Club, Inc.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

The LA Group

The Liberty Theater

The Mills Corporation

The Municipal Art Society of New York

The Olnick Organization

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Shops at Atlas Park, Queens

The Stubbins Associates

The Whitaker Center, Harrisburg

Thomas Balsley Associates

Tide Point, Baltimore

Times Square Business Improvement District

Tishman Speyer Properties

Towson University

Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie

Trinity College

Tsoi Kobus Architects

Two River Theatre Company

U.S. Japan Council

United States Bureau of the Census

United States Courthouse at Foley Square

United States Post Office

United Way

University at Buffalo, SUNY

University of Maine

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Urban Place Consulting Group Inc

US Tennis Association, Davis Cup

USA Weightlifting National Championships

van Dijk Westlake Reed Leskosky, now: Westlake Reed Leskosky

Van Wagner Communications, LLC

Van Wagner Sports Group, LLC

Victoria Ward Center

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vornado Realty Trust

Waikiki Business Improvement District Association

Wall Street Pier 11

Wallace Floyd Design Group

Washington Group International

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Weihe Design Group

West Midtown Ferry Terminal

William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates

Women's World Banking

World Championships of Freestyle Wrestling

World Outdoor Target Archery Championships

X

Z

Friday
Jun072013

Street Smarts

 

By David Gibson

I'm sitting in the window of a restaurant in Chelsea looking out at the streetscape, reminiscing about a great little restaurant that used to sit across the street. Called Eighteenth and Eighth, it was a cozy place in a handsome early nineteenth-century brick row house. That building was a fragment of old New York. Alas it and its two neighbors have been replaced by an ugly bank that adds nothing to the neighborhood and looks like any bank anywhere.

The restaurant where I'm waiting for my friend is, for some reason, called Pounds and Ounces. The name of that now departed restaurant offered no more clue to the dining experience than the name of the place where I am now sitting. But its name did provide some important wayfinding information. It was called 18th and 8th and any seasoned Manhattanite could tell you in an instant where to find it - the corner of 18th Street and 8th Avenue of course.

In a city like New York, that kind of information is wayfinding gold, a great how-to-find-it cue. My reverie got me thinking about the role that street names play in the wayfinding process. In North America and many parts of the world, we rely on street names and building numbers to help us find a destination. Traditionally those names allowed us to use the gazetteer to find the street on a map and get ourselves headed in the right direction. That system works particularly well in Manhattan where the famed Commissioners plan of 1811 gave us the great numbered street grid that guided the development of the city for the next century and has made wayfinding in the borough a relatively easy and intuitive experience. In fact in any city, town or subdivision, the street names help us find the people and places we are looking for. The rapid growth of GPS and the widespread use of Google Maps reinforce this paradigm - if you've got an address you can find it. With a postal code and an address you can send a package or letter anywhere. It's a universal how-to-find-it language.

There are two kinds of places I can think of where this nifty system breaks down. In many parts of the world streets don't have defined and agreed upon names and buildings don't have address numbers. I have been working in the Middle East for the past year have discovered that Dubai is a place without such a system. As I found when trying to direct my taxi to a small neighborhood restaurant just off of Sheikh Zayed Road, this makes direction giving really challenging, particularly in a city of more than two million people. I'll talk more about navigation in Dubai in a subsequent post.

My wayfinding work on college campuses has highlighted for me the other situation where people navigate without addresses. On old college campuses like Princeton, most buildings aren't located on a street but rather on a quad or a green and maybe a walkway. With no obvious street address for most buildings, it can be difficult to direct people to many campus destinations. There are some ways around this. At Princeton the walks have developed as a kind of street grid and the major ones have been named for past university presidents. The wayfinding signs and maps we have created for Princeton will make the names of these walks more explicit and visible to those trying to find a building on campus. The walks become an alternative addressing system that people use both to give directions and to find their way.

For us, the design of wayfinding systems can be a process of creating mental mapping structures or frameworks upon which we can build a system of directions. With these wayfinding strategies, we can simplify navigation in complex places. It may not be as easy as the path to my old haunt 18th and 8th, but it is usually much simpler than the convoluted direction sets we encounter at institutions with no wayfinding system in place.

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