Wayfinding

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University of Reading, Malaysia

The University of Reading is opening a campus in Malaysia. Scott Brownrigg (architects) and Gillespies (landscape architects) have planned the site and I designed internal and external wayfinding to fit within their plans.

The entire project has been shortlisted for an award at the World Architecture Festival 2013.

The wayfinding strategy is based on that used throughout the campus in Reading, but adjusted to suit the circumstances of the site in Malaysia. Likewise the appearance of the signage derives from that used on the Reading campus but adjusted to the circumstances and the visual qualities of the campus in Malaysia.

Construction is not complete, below are some of the drawings from the design presentation for internal wayfinding.

The building is divided into quadrants decorated in different colourways and with different decorative themes to help support the sense of location within the building.

The four quadrant colours:

University of Reading Malaysia, quadrant colour swatches

A key aspect of the directional signage is that directions to teaching rooms are separated from signs to toilets, stairs, lifts, and exits. Directions to teaching rooms in each quadrant use the quadrant colour, these signs are composed of large lettering applied directly to walls at key locations. Teaching rooms are identified by name and number, consistent typographic differentiation of these elements is used throughout the scheme. Within the room numbering system, block and floor are identified as well as room number, but room numbers are underlined to emphasise and differentiate them.

Direction signs for teaching rooms, in one of the quadrant colours:

University of Reading Malaysia, direction sign for teaching rooms

Direction signs to toilets, stairs, lifts and exits are mounted on discs suspended in corridors to give visibility along corridor sightlines. These signs use pictograms only in white on a neutral grey background. Toilets are not located with exit–stair–lift blocks, so the signs are always separate, and it is possible to suspend the signs in appropriate locations without blocking the sightlines to each set.

These visuals also show direction signs toilets and exit–stair–lift blocks, they include direction signs to teaching rooms in different quadrant colours obliquely on adjacent walls:

University of Reading Malaysia, direction sign for toilets

University of Reading Malaysia, direction sign for exit, stairs and lift

Floors and wings are clearly indicated using large-scale lettering on landings. On principal landings these are combined with large photographic imagery that reflects the quadrant colour and decorative theme:

University of Reading Malaysia, block and level identifier on landing

University of Reading Malaysia, block and level identifier on landing with photographic background

Groups of departmental rooms are identified by large lettering applied above the doors:

University of Reading Malaysia, departmental sign

Teaching rooms are identified by number and name in large lettering applied above head-height beside the door. Numbers and names are repeated on smaller signs directly beside the doors, these panels are easily changed inserts that include QR codes linking directly to the relevant page of the intranet giving information about room bookings:

University of Reading Malaysia, teaching room location sign in turquoise

University of Reading Malaysia, teaching room location sign in green

University of Reading Malaysia, teaching room location sign in magenta

University of Reading Malaysia, teaching room location sign in orange

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