Once the client agreed the “train station theatre” idea, we then had to define the main problem: how to design a theater like a train station, how to transport spectators inside the theater with a train.
We then defined more specific challenges, like how to get a passenger train inside the theatre, how fast can you get the 800 people in, how fast can you get them out and get another public in again; do we need two types of trains (a passenger train and a show train with multiple wagons).
After we determined the maximum number of spectators that would fit the space, we studied: the ground floor plan and topographic heights in order to design the railings and place the stops, accessibility routes for general public and disabled, in and out traffic, public safety during the circuit, fire protection for public and actors during the shows and in-between, and steam-punk design train stations (Metropolitan metro line in NY, Penn train station etc).
At this stage we have broken down the complexity of the Train Theatre into its essential features: loading of public, passenger train features, show train features, auditorium design, and show back of house design.
I drew the 2D layouts for each floor, cross-sections and details, and I followed a back and forth negotiation process with the client for each relevant piece of design.
After client feedback I had one to four weeks to integrate comments and improve the design. Sometimes this had started a new complete cycle of concept design.