Baits I Eaton House is a University of Michigan dormitory building that opened in the 1960s which was closed in 2012 due to its location. It was too difficult for the University to convince students to move in with its distance from dining hall and its relative seclusion from the rest of the university. Years later, with the renovation of the Michigan Union in 2018, many of the offices that were formerly located in that space were displaced to the Baits I Eaton House building. Baits I, a building designed for student living, has now become an office space for the foreseeable future.
The office hosts three permanent entities, Conference and Event Services, Technology Solutions, and Communications, Marketing, & Design. What little wayfinding there is in the building still remains the same from its dorm days, and now there are pieces of 8 ½ x 11 printer paper acting temporary wayfinding. This presented a unique opportunity for me to create a permanent office wayfinding system from the ground up that beautifies and updates a tired old building .
There are three issues I addressed:
-Clarification of Architecture
There are technically four floors in the building, but they are offset by half floors in the stairwell, giving the illusion that there are eight floors. This can often lead to confusion about where the viewer is at any given point. This could be alleviated by simple maps on signage located in regular intervals so that the viewer knows where they are or where to find another sign.
-Labeling of the correct entrance
There at three doors that face the parking lot, but only the middle one can be entered during work hours. There is no distinction between the doors so I created a graphic for the main door to draw attention to it and make it clear that that it’s the correct entrance.
-Direction to conference rooms
Visitors to the Baits I offices are most likely looking for conference rooms located in the southernmost part of the building. There are currently no directions to these locations, resulting in visitors stepping into the nearest inhabited office they can find to ask for directions. I provided directions to these spaces to minimize these intrusions.
This project is currently in production.