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Last blog we discussed the importance of transitions. This week I wanted to provide a more graphic example of the effect of how hallways, a transition element, can improve the operational flow, usage, and of course aesthetics of the experience moving from one space to another.

To demonstrate the importance of a good hallway transition, let's look at one of our current projects, the Arc of Washington County Renovation. In the administration building, there is a primary hallway, which connects three separate departments, the break room, and a large multi-purpose room for clients. This presents a small challenge, as this hallway has to accommodate the regular, daily business traffic, but there would also be times when 100 or more clients would also be traveling to and from the multi-purpose room. A simple, 8-foot wide hallway meets these needs. The image below illustrates how this might look.

straight hallway

While this hallway gets the job done, it doesn’t address human traffic flow as well as it could. Think about a time where you've been out and noticed spots where people have made their own traffic pattern, usually in the grass, because they don’t want to walk all the way to the corner where the sidewalk turns. Wouldn't it be nice to do the same inside sometimes? Too bad there are walls in the way, especially when you're making a tight turn and can't see if you're about to have a collision with someone. So what would happen if we looked at the hallway differently?

To enhance the operational, spatial, and aesthetic experience of this hallway, we curved the wall along the main path to the multi-purpose room to accommodate the large movement of people in a short time. This helps relieve the congestion at the rectangular corner from the illustration above and also avoids a blind corner where you might run into someone. The image below illustrates how we solved this challenge and improved the whole experience of a simple hallway.

curved hallway

This hallway is more inviting and able to move more people without feeling cramped as the first image illustrates.

As you can see, hallways can have a significant effect on the overall design of a project. While both hallways get the job done, considering all spaces, not just work areas, can proved a better, overall personal experience. 

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