Hybrid Exhibit Environments

Environments Studio I: Understanding Form and Context

3 Weeks | Fall 2019 


Design a pop up exhibit in Carnegie Mellon's Miller ICA Gallery featuring a climate change related issue. Think about how to incorporate technology into the space to enhance the visitor's experience. 


The issue of climate change is large, often a problem so overwhelming people do not know how to approach the issue. With this space, I narrowed in on a specific issue within the overarching problem, the rapid depletion of our water resources. 

With this exhibit, I showed the greater issue of water wastage at different scales, from the global level to the individual. The goal of the space and interactions is to connect the larger issue to people's tangible actions, pushing them towards understanding the importance of wise water consumption. 


Physical Prototyping, SketchUp, After Effects, LittleBits 

Breaking Down the Space

I divided the space into different sections through a parti diagram, with each space serving a specific purpose for the visitor of the exhibit. 


Section 1: The first space that the visitor enters frames the issue in a larger context, connecting the issues of climate change and water wastage together. This wall looks at the issue in terms of energy usage, precipitation shifts, the current water supply, etc. 

Section 2: The second space that the visitor enters narrows in on the US and something that we will feel strongly in the coming years: precipitation shifts. It also has an interactive map that changes based on time. 

Section 3: The third space narrows in on the individual, bringing up the concept of the water footprints. Water footprints are specifically based on how much water the visitor uses. 

Section 4: The fourth  space is the individual interaction for each visitor that calculates the amount of water that they use on a daily basis. This experience can either be individual or done with a family. 

Section 5: The fifth space connects back to the CMU community with an interactive data visualization wall that allows the visitor to see where they fall in the CMU community in terms of their water usage. 

Interaction #1: The US Map

The first interaction in the space is an interactive map of the United States. This map is a projected view of the United States in a three dimensional space, with two main elements that change, the color of the state representing the temperature that it is, and a three-dimensional projection that represents the severity of the drought in that area. The higher the “hump” the more severe the drought in that area.

The map also displays the way that the United States has changed, and will continue to change over time. There are 4 base states of the map: the past, the present, the mid-century, and the end of the century. This helps the user look at the issue in a temporal sense and see the impact that has already been made, and what impact will continue to be made if we continue the way that we are going now. The way that the map is triggered is by pressure sensors, and whenever a user steps on the sensors, the map will run through its sequence. 

Space Visualizations

Using SketchUp, I created mockups of the experiences within the exhibit, modeling what a walkthrough through the space would look like.


Physical Model

In addition to creating the space in a digital context with SketchUp, I created a physical model of the space. This model allowed us to create rapid iterations and generally see what the space looked like.


Interaction #2: The Water Footprint Calculator

The main experience/takeaway is calculating a person’s individual water footprint. For the base of this idea I worked off of this website: https://www.watercalculator.org/.  When the user first enters the exhibit, they will be greeted by an attendant. The attendant will give them a buzzer, based on which booth they need, individual or family sized. They keep the buzzer on them the whole time throughout the exhibit, and once their booth is ready the buzzer buzzes. This eliminates the potential bottling of people right before the booths.

Once they enter the booth, I used the water footprint calculator to determine some of the questions that the user will be asked in the booth. The user will be presented questions with a set number of options, then using pressure sensors they step on the answer that applies to them. 

Interaction #3: The Data Visualization Wall

The final interaction in the exhibit is the large data wall that is located right outside of the booths. Once the user is done with the booth, their final water usage will be calculated and inputted onto the data wall. The user will text a number a code that is displayed to them at the end of their experience to a number. This number will text them back a code that they can input into the wall and their data point will stand out, allowing them to compare their water usage with the community's.

Interactions Video