Accepted Paper:

Object - Cheating the Game: Wayfinding in the Museum  


Leonidas Koutsoumpos (National Technical University of Athens)

Paper short abstract:

The object relates to the way that people find their way in an architectural environment (the Acropolis Museum), by cheating the rules of the architectural game that was set up by the architect.

Paper long abstract:

Humans usually experience and appreciate architecture while accomplishing their mundane everyday tasks like cooking, playing, reading a book, chatting over a cup of coffee. In this sense, experiencing architecture is an act that requires much more than just looking at buildings (not to mention the usual mere looking at photographs of buildings).

This paper argues that despite the uniqueness of every human's experience of architecture there is some common ground that unites these experiences and makes them relevant for others. Architects can contribute greatly in understanding this common ground by looking at the way that people experience architecture.

In order to illustrate the argument presented in this paper I will offer a case study: the New Acropolis Museum (an award winning building designed by Bernard Tscumi). Video evidence will be provided to show that visitors follow very different routes than the one suggested by architectural design of the building and the museological storytelling of the exhibits (that here coincide).

An assimilation will be made with the board games that follow certain kinds of rules in the movement space. Why do people cheat the rules? The building was conceived to function through a 'clear' loop. Why is this not followed? Why do they ignore the functionality of the building? 'Cheating' the rule of the game should not be seen as a matter of individual taste and particular inclinations, but it is based on a common ground related to the perception of space that is shared between the visitors of the museum.

Panel P086
A Museum of Architecture: Challenging Representation(s)