Design Thinking, A Case Study:

Design Thinking A Case Study:

This article will focus upon an unusual design of an ancient ‘city gate’. It represents a story that came to light, as part of an archeological dig that occurred in Israel. It represents a fascinating design that was unlike any city gate of its day. It also provides some interesting parallels about how design was and continues to be used today. And it also provides an historical perspective on how design thinking was used in this ancient city.    

In the 9th century B.C, the city gate had become such an important feature in the ancient world, that it became a necessary part of building a city. However, over time, the city gate  soon became the weak link and no longer served to protect. However this story shows how design thinking was utilized to change all that. 

The Megiddo Gates, A Case Study:

The ancient city I am referring to, is the discovery of the City Gates of ‘Megiddo’. Through detailed records of the archeological dig, a plan was revealed in which the design of the gate system entailed an enclosed passageway that included internal chambers. Special chambers that served to provide added protection.  

The design of the ‘Megiddo Gate’ (sketch depicted above) reveals the actual floor plan of the ancient ruins. As the details emerged this gate system included  much more than a single gate, but also became a place of civic governance and commerce that occurred at the gate itself. In addition, the structure was built with a substantial foundation and long lasting materials. In addition, the wall structure was built to include an internal passage way with chambers, designed to be within the thick walled structure. In turn the walled gate became a fortified building structure that also housed diverse functions while also protecting the city gate. The design fundamentally changed the typical operation of the city entrance gate and influenced the way the city gate functioned. It was as though the city gate itself had become a symbol of royal governance. 

This ancient city gate revealed a design mindset, that incorporated an understanding of the various challenges of its day, and also how it was transformed the city.  The new Megiddo gates provided a novel and life saving approach for its time. It represent a solution that created several large multi layered walled systems of  large blocks that made it difficult to enter or traverse the passage for nefarious reasons. An apposing army that did dare to attempt to break through the first gate, was soon overwhelmed by the multi-gate system and battle ready stations on either side of the passage way. In addition, it was a very tight corridor of articulated rock walls and internal chambers which were easily supplied by a network of internal passage ways behind solid masonry walls. In addition, the slope of the passage way was also inclined. In time of peace, various systems were provided to allow for passage of goods and materials to traverse the passage. 

The Essence of Design Thinking:

In consideration of the above noted case study of the ‘Megiddo city gate’. We see a solution that moves well beyond the typical inherent weakness of the known city gates of its day and provided advanced functions and operations that dramatically improved the city on many levels. The design solution clearly represented advancements over the status quo, and boldly moved beyond the status quo; providing an extensive array of enhanced functionality and value to its citizenry. The new gate system also advanced an innovative approach in how it solidified the city as a royal seat of governance. No longer would the fortified gate here be taken for granted. Interestingly, the Megiddo city gate advancements did not use new material, or technology, but rather demonstrated its innovation with a design mindset. It used existing materials in new ways. And it utilized wisdom over a reliance upon brute force, or other such physical advancements of the day. 

Great challenges can inspire Good Design:

The genius of the Megiddo city gate plan, is found in its ability to completely transform the single gate system of its day into a multifaceted solution. They discovered ways to enhance and improve upon the design, which also represent a critical aspect of design thinking. A prototype was created, and it allowed for further refinement and testing of the final structure. In addition, the new gate became an identifying feature of this city. It worked in concert with other vital civic functions of the city. All in all, it represented both a practical and judicious use of space, and how it embodied an ordered path that protected its people.. 

From a modern perspective, the design of the Megiddo city gate, depicts a fascinating account of what design thinking looks like even in this ancient city.  Solving major challenge’s of its day by thinking far along a path and looking to provide valuable and effective solutions. The case study delineates a way of how advancing viable solutions, can add substantial value, benefits and vital functions for human beings. It’s much more than a fancy facade or skin deep solutions. 

Modern Day Applications:

Today this design methodology can be applied to how we design our homes and places of work. Not as city gate mind you – however, we can utilize the principles of design thinking to realize solutions and seek to transcend the problems of our day. With a design mindset, much can be accomplished. The City gates of the ancient city of Megiddo depicts a real-life example of a city that used design and thinking. And it is an example that occurred almost 3000 years ago.    


Design Thinking, A Case Study: Read More »