Building design before experience design -why??

We have been talking about big issues in December, during our gifts of insight series and today is no exception from both a design perspective and a concept perspective. Let’s tackle design first !

What about a museum that plans to deal with questions of globalization and worldwide trade, in other words the big concept of exchange of goods, knowledge and people. Where better than a new museum covering the development of a major port city like Hamburg, Germany and its harbour. The German Federal Parliament’s budget committee approved 120 million Euros of funding to establish the German Port Museum. Except Hamburg already has five museums dealing with maritime topics, so some naturally questioned the need for a new museum, rather than enhancement of the existing infrastructure.

However, a recent architect competition has been struck in typical fashion, to create a museum structure without an interpretive design plan. Our July 18, 2018 EID blog post reported on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum that broke from the tradition of first designing the architecture of the building and THEN the contents within. Instead the visitor experience was designed first then the building was commissioned to house the immersive “experience” exhibits.

Design the experiences first and then design the building is EID’s mantra. Deciding whether you need a new facility or a rejuvenation of all or some of what you already have, depends on solid visitor outcomes and a clear interpretive picture of the desired visitor experience. Multiple buildings with differentiated stories that link together and support an overall visitor experience could be powerful.

Tomorrow’s post will continue by exploring the intriguing “view behind the porthole” content envisioned by the new German Port Museum.