Designing for Use

Ennead

Overview

Ennead Architects is an award-winning, New York City and Shanghai based architecture firm with a focus on architecture for the public realm. Led by eleven partners, the 175-person studio has designed widely acclaimed projects from the Standard Hotel, the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History, The Public Theater in New York City, to the Brooklyn Museum and Yale Art Gallery.

Schema partnered with the NYC-based design firm Small Stuff on the redesign of Ennead’s website. The new website is designed to highlight the use of space and the performance of buildings—central principles that define Ennead’s work. Spirit of Space was commissioned to create a series of immersive “Moving Architecture” films that put the work front and center.

The new Ennead website focuses on how architecture is used
The homepage cycles through recent projects and shows the latest news
The Work section organizes all projects by category
The project pages take the visitor through a narrative of the building
Key projects are introduced by videos, highlighting the use of the space
The People section features the entire staff, from partners to project architects
The Vision section highlights key ideas underlying the work
Tablet
Mobile

Process

The collaboration between our two firms, Small Stuff and Schema, allowed us to bring two complementary perspectives to the project focused on content strategy and user experience. Together, we worked closely with Ennead to define the goals of the redesign. Rather than making users navigate through nested hierarchies in order to find information, our combined approach became about surfacing Ennead’s content at the highest level of the experience. The result is a flat site architecture that allows for simple, horizontal movement between the primary content types—projects, partner profiles, news articles, and ideas. A defining feature of the new site are a series of videos for key projects, beautifully shot by Spirit of Space, that highlight how people use Ennead’s spaces.

The interaction model is based on a network of interconnected content types

Outcome

The site is fully responsive and scales seamlessly to any device, from mobile and tablet to laptop screens. The project pages are highly configurable, giving Ennead the flexibility to tell stories through writing, images, slideshows, embedded videos and a unique layout. A print template outputs project pages formatted and print-ready, and the site is fully mirrored in Chinese. The result is a simple, clear overview of Ennead’s remarkable work, philosophy, and the people who make it happen.

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