Whether outside or in the arena, the landscapes of venues are major candidates for crowd control, particularly in terms of traffic flow, stage exposure, seating niches and gathering areas. Using barricades and turnstiles is effective. However, it reminds one of handling cattle, versus managing human beings. When human beings are handled like animals… the tendency is to respond in kind.
Calling for a bold approach from architects, landscape architects and engineers with a talent for design—as well as willingness on the part of owners and managers—a great deal can be accomplished toward a solution that addresses the end users with friendly persuasion and resulting in a different sort of behavior.
Solving the Problem
Introducing a design solution—one that utilizes attractive barriers in subtle ways and avoids seeming like an inhibitive gesture—is the proposed solution. Immovable and serene, granite containers, softened with trees, plants, shrubs and blossoms are permanent fixtures in the landscape and will function as effective guardians. When deployed in a design that respects human movement, they will function as programmed and provide a pleasant environment, comfortable enough for human engagement.
The Design Model
There will be as many opportunities for solutions, and the designer who receives this assignment will need to have a few ideals on hand. Several items should be taken into consideration when dealing with large crowds. Scale will be the first consideration, simply because scale is what will impress and manage a crowd. Configuration will need to facilitate traffic flow and containment. Regarding stage exposure, the greenery chosen will need to be somewhat abrasive. It will look friendly, but it won’t feel friendly. Where gathering areas are concerned, seating niches are most effective in enclosing those areas. Funneling people through confined areas will require a smooth surface, obviously, and only mentioned to avoid the possibility of being overlooked.
Looking at the context from the customers’ perspective, the best solution will persuade a positive reaction, even to the point of slowing movement. Not for visitors’ horticultural enjoyment, but the plants themselves will have that peripheral effect. They smell them, see them and respond as the implication of an environment in which they can feel more relaxed. Quite different than the usual crowd scene, and again, scale is important. Using a stately palm, for instance, has a sense of gravitas. Massive shrubs that spill over the container’s rim will have a monolithic effect when set close together, to represent a boundary. Further affecting the model, vines can be trained to soften the palm trunks—however, they will require pruning to prevent damage to the palm.
Bonus the Entry
Considering a stadium venue, efforts to improve the entry will not go unrewarded or unnoticed. Being a utilitarian structure invites designers to accept the challenge and, using scale that honors proportion and opportunity, the design must innovate with a bold solution. Inspiration drawn from the well-known landscape masterpieces of the world will succeed in camouflaging utility and impress visitors with a sense of grandeur. Presaging an exciting experience is exactly where the design should begin.
If you think there are points we missed, don’t hesitate to tell us in the comments.