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Effectiveness and Performance of Spatial Communication within Composite Interior Space: The Wayfinding System in the Saudi National Museum as a Case Study

Authors: Afnan T. Bagasi, Donia M. Bettaieb, Abeer Alsobahi


The wayfinding system affects the course of a museum journey for visitors, both directly and indirectly. The design aspects of this system play an important role, making it an effective communication system within the museum space. However, translating the concepts that pertain to its design, and which are based on integration and connectivity in museum space design, such as intelligibility, lacks customization in the form of specific design considerations with reference to the most important approaches. These approaches link the organizational and practical aspects to the semiotic and semantic aspects related to the space syntax by targeting the visual and perceived consistency of visitors. In this context, the present study aims to identify how to apply the concept of intelligibility by employing integration and connectivity to design a wayfinding system in museums as a kind of composite interior space. Using the available plans and images to extrapolate the considerations used to design the wayfinding system in the Saudi National Museum as a case study, a descriptive analytical method was used to understand the basic organizational and Morphological principles of the museum space through the main aspects of space design (the Morphological and the pragmatic). The study’s methodology is based on the description and analysis of the basic organizational and Morphological principles of the museum space at the level of the major Morphological and Pragmatic design layers (based on available pictures and diagrams) and inductive method about applied level of intelligibility in spatial layout in the Hall of Islam and Arabia at the National Museum Saudi Arabia within the framework of a case study through the levels of verification of the properties of the concepts of connectivity and integration. The results indicated that the application of the characteristics of intelligibility is weak on both Pragmatic and Morphological levels. Based on the concept of connective and integration, we conclude the following: (1) High level of reflection of the properties of connectivity on the pragmatic level, (2) Weak level of reflection of the properties of Connectivity at the morphological level (3) Weakness in the level of reflection of the properties of integration in the space sample as a result of a weakness in the application at the morphological and pragmatic level. The study’s findings will assist designers, professionals, and researchers in the field of museum design in understanding the significance of the wayfinding system by delving into it through museum spaces by highlighting the most essential aspects using a clear analytical method.

Keywords: wayfinding system, museum journey, intelligibility, integration, connectivity, interior design

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