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Illustrated map for MCA Chicago by ODLCO helps to encourage museum visitors
In addition to zoo maps, ODLCO studied graphic novels, primitive maps, and Chinese landscape painting for insight.

CHICAGO, IL.- ODLCO was commissioned by MCA Chicago's Education Department to create a self-guided printed piece to encourage museum visitors, especially families, to explore the museum. In response to their brief, ODLCO proposed a pictorial museum map, using illustrated zoo and theme park maps as inspiration. ODLCO wanted kids and parents to be able to look at the map together, and point to places they wanted to explore.

In addition to zoo maps, ODLCO studied graphic novels, primitive maps, and Chinese landscape painting for insight. After their research, they felt that the museum should be represented in a cross-section, encouraging visitors to understand the building as a sum of parts—not just galleries, but also back-of-house facilities, workshops and garden areas. An axonometric section, traditionally used in the field of architecture, is a way of seeing that is impossible to experience in real life. It provides a unique view of the museum that shows the relationship between stacked spaces and their relative scales and characters.

Because the museum works with large scale and radical artworks, the preparator’s department maintains a highly accurate 3D model of the entire building. ODLCO used this model as the basis for their drawings. First they created the sectional axonometrics, then used them as an underlay for hand drawing figures and coloring architectural elements. They added callouts that suggest activities and point out exciting back-of-house spaces.

The map is 26 in. x 32 in., folded into thirds. 6,500 were printed for free distribution to MCA Chicago visitors. This map is a seasonal representation of the exhibits and artworks at the museum during summer 2013. After a visit, the map can be brought home and used as a poster souvenir.

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