Archive for the ‘Design Lab’ Category

Design Lab: Backstage

Backstage is the fifth and final space we have finished designing for Design Lab at The New York Hall of Science. It lends its name to the activities that will take place in a hands-on learning space dedicated to experimenting with all the ingredients that go into a theatrical productions from rigging to lightening, to costume design.


Model of the Backstage

Backstage is a flexible space that can transform to accommodate variety of activities and group sizes.

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Rolling tables, sewing machines, and mannequins will be brought out for costume design, shadow puppet shows will be staged at moveable freestanding projection screens, lights will be lowered and raised on pulleys in order to change their gels and adjust their angles, and groups will gather around tackboard partitions for problem ideation and display of results.

Backstage marks the final introduction to the four new spaces that along with Maker Space will make up Design Lab. In the next weeks will we start documenting the transition from the design phase into prototyping, creating study models and mock-ups before fabrication begins at our Brooklyn Navy Yard Space.

#designlab #designismaking

Design Lab: The Fort

This week we are taking a closer look at The Fort. In the past few months we have introduced the designs for The Dollhouse, Sandbox  and The Treehouse The Fort marks the fourth in a series of six workspace designs that will make up Design Lab.

Below is the latest built model of The Fort.


The Fort is especially designed for body/scale design. In practice this means full-scale building and prototyping activities such as furniture making and hatching plans for survival on a deserted island will take place in The Fort.


Modular concrete blocks form the enclosure of this space, and the blocks also function as storage cabinets, display boxes and pegboards. Their stacking pattern provides windows for passers-by to peek in and see what’s happening inside. Small nooks will allow slower starters to observe and research on their own, before jumping into the collaborative activities.


To learn more about Design Lab in its design phase visit our project page here, and stay tuned for process news as we introduce the remaining workshop-spaces and begin fabrication in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

#designab #designismaknig

Design Lab: The Treehouse

The Treehouse is the center workshop-space of the total of six spaces making up Design Lab. Centered in the middle of The New York Hall of Science’s Central Pavilion, the current heart of this historic facility that features hundreds of hands-on exhibitions ranging from molecular biology to physics.


Each of Design Lab’s six spaces is designed to accommodate a range of earning styles, with particular attention to problem ideation research, and display, encouraging visitors to share ideas, reflect on precedents, and examine problems from a variety of perspectives.

In The Treehouse visitors will explore physics from gravity, air resistance, fluid dynamics — by inventing and building contraptions, dropping them from a height, and documenting and observing the results. Challenges will range from designing “air dancers” that fall slowly and graceful to designing a vehicle to protect an egg from breaking.


Close-up of model construction

The Treehouse is a vertical space design that functions on two levels. In part it elevates its audience above ground in the look-out pods, where they will be able to observe the activities happening all over Design Lab as well as the exhibitions on the mezzanine.


Rendering overview of The Treehouse

To learn more about Design Lab in its design phase visit our project page here, and stay tuned for process news as we introduce the remaining workshop-spaces and begin fabrication.

#designab #designismaknig

Making is Design: Makers, Shakers and Innovators

As part of the research for Design Lab we want to get our hands dirty and learn from the wondrous experimental community of makers and tinkers in Brooklyn and beyond.

We’ve stumbled upon Brooklyn Brainery upon a local crowd-sourced community education space, that hosts classes on all topics imaginable from physics, HTML, toy hacking, to shorthand – (you’ll learn how to write fast and indecipherable to most eyes, very convenient for private subway scribbles.)


One of latest additions of educators is NYC Makery. This team of innovation makers has previously hosted a series of pop-up workshops where youth and adult were invited to tinker, experiment and design through making. Hands-on learning and experimentation is at the heart of these workshops, and we’re amazed to see how a chance gift of balloons turned one of the kids into a camera-hacker that created an awesome aerial photography device.


The idea of asking youth “what will you make today” rather than “today we’ll learn about” is the driving motivator for the spirit of NYC Makery and Design Lab alike. The re-design of The New York Hall of Science’s new exhibition space is divided into five separate workshop-spaces were visitors are encouraged to participate and design objects through hands-on making. Our belief that “making is design” bleeds into our own process of designing Design Lab from concept to finished space. We make sure to switch out our office chairs with tools to build features and objects that will be part of the end result.

To learn more about prototyping and our fabrication to design process click here, and to explore Design Lab in its design phase please visit our project page for Design Lab.

All Photographs courtesy of Makery NYC

#designlab #makingisdesign



Design Lab: Sandbox Prototyping

We have finished the design development phase of Design Lab for and have started to develop 1:1 scale prototypes. Here are two of thesketches of a feature element – a plywood cabinet that serve both as seating and storage in The Sandbox: a space dedicated to full-scale building and experimentation through hands-on design and learning.


Sketch of the seating and storage cabinets that outline the Sandbox area for full-scale construction of objects.


Sketch for individual cabinet construction

This is first prototyping of storage cabinets that will be a feature element of The Sandbox. These cabinets function both as storage for materials for large-scale hands-on building projects, as well as seating. The seats are incorporated into a low perimeter of drawers and shelving that rises up to become display shelves near the entry stair. This area provides space for observation and interactive touch-screens allow visitors to browse the work of previous participants and to conduct research for their own projects.



1:1 Prototype


This prototype cabinet made for storage of rubber bands for building towers and domes out of wooden dowels

Design Lab is a large scale re-design of the New York Hall of Science’s new exhibition space.

To learn more about Design Lab click here  #designlab #designismaking

Design Lab: Wrapping up Design Development

We’ve been wrapping up the design development phase of Design Lab, a project we are working on for the New York Hall of Science. Over the coming weeks we’ll be developing 1:1 scale prototypes of various components of the structures and, in the spirit of the Design Lab project, we’re looking forward to getting our hands dirty!


Here’s the latest version of what we’ve been calling this one the “Sandbox.” It will be a space where visitors can experiment in a variety of media at a large scale. Pictured here, make a structure out of rubber bands and dowels!



The “Fort” structure will be a combination of thin shell concrete modules and wooden planar elements that will simultaneously serve as storage for the myriad materials that will be used for maker projects as well as vessels for the display of objects/experiments made by visitors.

We’ll be posting images of mock-ups soon!

Design Lab: The Dollhouse

One component of the Design Lab at the New York Hall of Science – the “Dollhouse” – will be used for hand-scale projects, such as making models of buildings and cities. The perimeter of the space is composed of shelving for both display and materials storage. A continuous horizontal surface called the “aggregator” will provide space for kids to display what they have made and to build on the ideas of other participants. In response to the program’s emphasis on craft and making by hand, the structure of the dollhouse will be based on traditional timber construction. For both the walls and ceiling, wood framing will be laid out in a triangulated tessellation pattern and joined with connectors that are integral to the plywood cladding. To allow passers-by to see in, some parts of the perimeter are left open, and some parts of the cladding are perforated. The perforations echo the tessellated geometry of the framing.

dollhouse aggregator

The Aggregator

dollhouse front-BLOG1

Front View of the Dollhouse

dollhouse plan

Plan of the Dollhouse

Situ on Designer Pages Media by Otto

Recently, we were interviewed to be part of the Studio Space portion of Designer Pages Media by Otto. Otto aims to facilitate a connection between architects and manufacturers through their search platform. Check out their video of our conversation below…

Design Lab: Design Development


We’re moving into the design development phase for Design Lab, the new exhibition space Situ Studio is designing for the New York Hall of Science. Over the next 7 months we’ll be working with the Museum to finalize the plans for the space and are working towards an opening in June 2014.

Design Lab Model

Design Lab: Concept Phase Complete


We’ve just completed the concept package for Design Lab, NYSci’s new exhibition space for its 9,500 sf Central Pavilion. Largely influenced by the Maker Movement, Design Lab will serve as a space dedicated to design-based, hands-on learning.  In developing the architecture for Design Lab, we’ve thought a lot with the Museum about what the ideal environment for project-based science learning might be. Instead of creating a conventional semi-narrative exhibition space, we have moved in the direction of a community of six flexible workshops distinct in size, materials, and degree of enclosure, that will be distributed throughout the Central Pavilion

Included above are images of 1 of the 6 workshops nicknamed the “sandbox.”  A space designated for group activities, visitors will be desk-free and encouraged to spread out on the floor to build medium to large scale projects such as dowel structures, inflatable sculptures or full-scale furniture (just a few among many planned projects). Conceived of as an open arena, the workshop will incorporate stepped seating, a reading nook, and plenty of storage and display.

Stay tuned for more Design Lab updates.

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