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Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh, PA | 2019
Architect: Koenig Eizenberg Architects
In April of 2019 Museum Lab opened its door to the public as the first isUD certified museum in the country. A major expansion project of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the museum offers cutting edge experiences and provides innovative spaces for kids aged 10+ to play, learn and create through art, technology and making. Together with the existing children’s museum, this facility has become the largest cultural campus in the country for kids and their families.

Located in the former Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny and adjacent to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the building had been vacant since a 2006 lightning strike damaged the roof, and the years of neglect left the building in poor condition. Instead of being discouraged by the limitations of the existing building, the design team viewed it as an opportunity to preserve the historical integrity of the building by revitalizing the 129-year old historic structure and incorporating many modern building concepts to reflect current user needs. One of those concepts is universal design.The facility has many interesting and exciting features like the flexibility and adaptability of open spaces, a comprehensive and clear wayfinding plan, and special attention to sustainability, indoor air quality, thermal environment, acoustics and lighting.

Notable Universal Design features include, but are not limited to:

  • Oversized circulation paths and primary routes of travel
  • Generous clearances and turning space throughout the facility
  • Abundance of natural light throughout the building
  • Large, multi-purpose spaces with flexible seating to accommodate exhibits and events
  • Comprehensive, clear and consistent wayfinding system to guide visitors throughout the building and enhance visitor experience.
  • Illuminated room signs mounted on brick walls that provide high contrast
  • Directional signage cleverly wrapped around walls to enhance visitors’ ability to navigate from place to place
  • Clever integration of art installations suspended from the ceilings to absorb sound and eliminate reverberation in large, open spaces
  • Adult changing table that allows caregivers to assist weakened or disabled individuals who may be unable to fully care for themselves
  • All-gender restrooms that accommodate everyone, regardless of their gender-identity or expression
  • Zoned areas within the facility enable users to modify room temperature within +/- 4 degrees
The best examples of universal design solutions are subtle and integrative, like this colorful mural that serves as a wayfinding tool at the ground floor.
MuseumLab's Gabble Gallery
MuseumLab’s main gallery space
MuseumLab's interior signage wrapping around column
MuseumLab's comprehensive signage system makes wayfinding throughout the building easy