Madison Children's Museum
Design to Move
Design to Move: Stair Trek (DTM), is a collaborative project that reimagines city stairwells as play spaces, making moments of active play accessible and convenient for busy families in Madison’s low income neighborhoods. We know that "playable" cities are essential to raising engaged children, and are a catalyst for building healthy communities.
Through DTM, MCM will convert four dingy stairwells into physically immersive, magical art-installations and whimsical interactive play experiences, using sound, light, color, paint, mosaic, metal, and a host of natural materials. The four stairwells will be transformed to create experiences that draw kids to play and move their bodies. As part of a larger DTM initiative outside of the scope of the PEC, MCM will also transform stairwells in its own building and local children's hospital, and create a toolkit for outside organizations, showcasing low-cost ideas on how to turn stairwells into active places of joy.
Stairwells are an ideal focus for DTM because code-required stairwells are often the most under-used and least engaging space in a building. Today's stairwells, if used at all, are clinical and bland, and often relegated to corners with little thought given to the possibility that they could become a playful opportunity for moving. But, for individuals able to use them, stairwells are the healthy mode of transportation when compared to the elevator. Imagine a building where taking the stairs was also the most enticing, playful and desirable choice. A parking garage staircase can become a dance minute; climbing the stairs at a community center could become a rock wall, and a trip to the City County Building could become an interactive story time.
MCM proposes DTM as a city-wide stairwell transformation. The museum has selected a range of locations throughout Madison; including: a community center, a city park, a government building, an early learning center, and a homeless shelter. The museum will collaborate with partners to select artists or artists groups to work with the community on designing, building and installing an engaging stairwell play space. Through a thoughtful and measurable community process, these play-stairwells will uniquely represent the organizations in which they are housed.
- Anna January