Entryways are the first thing you see when you approach an unfamiliar place. The way it is designed influences how you feel as you pass through it. Some portals are designed to welcome people in, others to keep people out.
As a class, list spaces that feel welcoming or unwelcoming. What qualities make them feel that way? Discuss.
In this activity, half the group will design a welcoming entryway, the other half will design one which is open, but unwelcoming—one that might make us think twice before walking through. In teams, write down the emotions you’d like those entering your space to feel—warmth and generosity; fear and alienation? Each team will build their entryway based on the qualities they identified during the initial class brainstorm above.
Look around the classroom for things that can be used to build your entryway—desks, chairs, books, and boxes are all fair game! Consider how the color, feel, or arrangement of materials could aid your design. What would people walking toward your space see? What might they smell? What’s under their feet or over their head? How easy or difficult will it be for them to move through the entryway? What might a person see when they get to the other side? Teams may not use signage or words in their design.
Once both teams are finished, each is invited to walk through the other’s entryway and record their feelings on paper, quietly.
Discuss the experience as a class. How closely did the other team’s experience match with your team’s intentions? Was your design successful? How might you improve it?