Years ago I sat in a crowded theater and watched the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Indy and his companions escaped from a crashing airplane by inflating a rubber raft and using it to sail out of the plane, slide down a snowy mountainside, and float down a river. The audience reveled in every stunt, save one, throughout the movie. As the main characters make an escape by charging along a roller-coaster of railroad tracks in a mining cart, the cart takes flight over a crevasse, lands on the next set of tracks perfectly, and rolls forth at breakneck speed. Expressions of disbelief emanated from every row and even I thought, "What kind of rubes do they think we are; any four-year-old knows how difficult it is to align those miserable little train wheels along the tracks."
What does this have to do with building planning? I think Mr. Spielberg grabbed our attention with the exotic bits but he slipped up when he based a stunt on something that was familiar to everyone who had ever played with a train set. The audience reverted to memory instead of remaining open to possibility. I think we run into a similar problem in working with architects and engineers in designing archival repositories. Archivists are soaring along in a mining cart of lofty archival standards and practices, and the architects, relying on what they already know, are trying to land us on familiar tracks.
Galey, Forrest W.
"Landing on the Right Track: Developing an HVAC System for a New Repository,"
The Primary Source: Vol. 28
, Article 2.
Available at: http://aquila.usm.edu/theprimarysource/vol28/iss1/2