No unauthorised admission: Wayfinding for a military site

A talk by Andrew Barker

no-unauthorised-admission-wayfinding-for-a-military-site2Just what is the signing strategy for the new high-security Northwood HQ which is the MoD’s Headquarters as well as Nato’s UK base? Our presence in Afghanistan is managed from this top secret military site.

Did the site need signage at all? Are visitors and strangers permitted to know what any of the buildings are? In theory once admitted visitors are allowed to wander unaccompanied, in practice one can be interrogated at any time by men carrying serious weapons

Some of the plans I was given didn¹t name or identify the function of any rooms, this was because the construction workers didn¹t need to know. I needed to know, and one of the challenges was to get the information I needed.

Added to this, due to the scale of the site and the schedule for construction, the design of some key buildings was not complete when I had to start specifying signage design and installation.

Work had to start with a less-than-complete picture of the requirements of the wayfinding  strategy or a comprehensive brief on what the sign system needed to do. Altogether it was an interesting challenge.

Venue:
John Lewis Partnership, Room 1.6
171 Victoria Street,
London
SW1E 5NN
(Nearest station Victoria)

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