CLIENT : THINKTANK, BIRMINGHAM
Outside Studios were the exhibition designers for this brilliant project, working with landscape architects Gillespies from day one to develop a concept for Thinktank's new outdoor Science Garden. The brief set out challenging expectations for activity levels and operational flexibility, and the client team were benchmarking against the best in the world.
Looking to balance the risks of developing brand new interactives against the drive for innovation - and the planning constraints! - we worked from learning outcomes to develop three zones exploring energy, transport and classical physics, creating contrasts by imagining these as a garden, a street and a factory. The scheme blends group activity with solo exploration, and caters for varied learning styles and age groups. Giant set pieces - such as a 7 metre high ball race we call 'The Terminus' - create focal points, and the outdoor scale enabled a twist on some old favourites. For example our lock, integrated with the main water feature, is big enough to be a proper analogue for the real thing on the canal a short walk away.
We worked with Thinktank on an innovative procurement route, embedding fabricators Science Projects in the final stage of our design process to pre-engineer as many solutions as possible. This smoothed the development of the engineering and helped embed the design concept, helping it through to completion.