Project Spotlight: KidzWorld at Pusat Sains Negara

March 29, 2011

KidzWorld at Pusat Sains Negara (National Science Centre of Malaysia)

KidzWorld at Pusat Sains Negara (National Science Centre of Malaysia)

Wandering through a mirror maze, climbing through a rocket, creating shadows of color or playing a giant music box.  These are just a few of the experiences that children and their caregivers can have at KidzWorld – the recently opened gallery at the National Science Centre of Malaysia (Pusat Sains Negara) in Kuala Lumpur.

The 4,000-square-foot KidzWorld exhibit, geared towards children ages 7-14, is divided into five thematic zones.  As guests enter the popular science center’s main atrium, they are greeted by a massive, rocket-themed climbing structure and a ball play area, each filled with a variety of interactive opportunities.  Moving into the main exhibit space, visitors can manipulate a magnetic ball wall in the Creativity area, look at themselves in a whole new way via a computer-controlled “fun-house”-styled mirror in the I Am Special area, create a musical masterpiece on a giant piano or light beam harp in the Sound of Music area or see how much energy they generate by running in a human hamster wheel in the Machines area. 


JRA Southeast Asia Director Shahryn Azmi tries out the hamster wheel.


Since opening in early March, the new KidzWorld exhibit has been an exciting new play-based destination for the museum’s younger visitors.  The gallery’s various exhibits were designed to help children sharpen their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, learn to identify different shapes, colors and sounds, tap into their creativity and discover the worlds of physics, biology and motion.

Beat Bender

“For Kuala Lumpur residents and visitors alike, the 'new' National Science Centre enhanced in the atrium by KidzWorld exemplifies the best of experiential learning for children,” said Shahryn Azmi, Director, Jack Rouse Associates (Southeast Asia) Sdn Bhd.  “JRA Southeast Asia is honored to have worked on such an important project, and as a Malaysian parent myself, I’m excited about taking my children to a new destination full of fun things to do and reasons to return.”

JRA provided complete planning, design and implementation for KidzWorld at Pusat Sains Negara.   Stay tuned for more photos via our Facebook page.


 

Tags: Asia , Project Spotlight

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Blog 'N Learn: 16 Stages of Project Development - Final Concept

March 24, 2011

Concept Color Rendering

Concept Color Rendering

16 Stages of Project Development
Stage 8: Final Concept Design


Your design language has taken shape, and you are beginning to understand the relationship between your attractions or exhibits and how they fit together.  Our next stage, Final Concept Design, creates a level of detail sufficient to fully grasp the project’s scope, style and content.

Once a story and design language aligning with the criteria for success have been agreed upon and established, Jack Rouse Associates, in collaboration with your team, the architect and the building designer, then begins the actual exhibit development process.  Working from the agreed-upon story and design language, there are two distinct areas that are now considered in great detail:

  • Guest experience planning
  • Space planning

The space planning aspect tends to be more technical, while the guest experience planning is driven more by content, emotions and story.  The two are linked, of course, because a great exhibit gallery or thrilling attraction can be completely undermined by poor operations or a confusing guest-circulation pattern.

At all times, we’ll be thinking about what the visitors will do, how they’ll do it, what they might think about, what they might learn, what they might be sparked by, what might make them laugh, how they can cooperate with one another, ways they can communicate.  Our goal is to create truly visitor-oriented exhibits, visitor centers and attractions.

As it becomes appropriate, JRA’s design team will call on the in-house expertise of our project managers to ensure that each of our exhibit or attraction concepts can be built as designed on time and within budget.  Our lead designers and staff members with operational backgrounds are there to keep us grounded in reality, ensuring that we adhere to a universal design philosophy at each stage of design.  Their emphasis on the total guest experience and on operational details helps make the story “tellable” and the design language “functional,” even in their formative stages.

Concept Color Rendering


Through continuous interface, our team will develop a series of refined planning diagrams and renderings of key exhibit areas to indicate the form and function of the overall attraction.  Deliverables in this phase include:

  • Project space requirements
  • Finalized exhibit master plan
  • Finalized program list and preliminary briefs for all exhibits, environments, attractions and media
  • Finalized concept designs of all exhibits, environments, attractions and media, which may include preliminary plans, sections, storyboards, color sketches and illustrations
  • Budget allocations for all exhibits, environments, attractions and media
  • Project time schedule

We’re halfway through the 16 Stages!  Concept in hand, the process moves to the more technical phase of Schematic Design, where we define the size, function and appearance of the facility and its attractions.  Join us in April for Stage 9 of the 16 Stages of Project Development.  Next week, we’ll travel to Ireland to visit their first children’s museum, and the following week we’ll enjoy one of Cincinnati’s greatest annual traditions.   Thanks for reading!
 

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JRA Journeys: Go West!

March 22, 2011

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LEGOLAND® California

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“Go West, young [readers], go West.”  Such was the advice (slightly paraphrased) that Horace Greeley supposedly gave to Josiah Bushnell Grinnell in the mid-19th Century.  We’ll take his good counsel as we conclude our JRA Journeys tour of the United States by traveling through the Mountain West and California.

From our last stop in Dearborn, Michigan, we’ll fly over 1100 miles to Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Cheynenne Mountain Zoological Park.  The zoo’s African Rift Valley exhibit takes a novel approach to interpretation, helping visitors appreciate both the uniqueness of Africa and the many ways that the Rift Valley is closer to their everyday lives than they might think.  Jack Rouse Associates designed and project managed the 4½-acre interpretive exhibit area, which combines hands-on interactives, a multimedia presentation and an engaging storybook method of interpretation.

 

The exhibit’s centerpiece is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s giraffe herd, the most prolific in the world, with 181 births at the Zoo since 1954.  A number of activities are built around these animals, including unique feeding stations, a daily “stampede” through the exhibit’s boardwalk drawbridge and a variety of displays, interactives and theme areas.


Our next destination takes us from lively animals to living history, as we drive 176 miles north to Laramie, Wyoming.   The Wyoming Territorial Park was created to accurately depict the nineteenth-century American West, with particular emphasis on the High Plains.  Its centerpiece, the Wyoming Territorial Prison, was fully restored and is operated as a museum.  Jack Rouse Associates provided overall planning, design and project management for this popular living history museum.

From the plains of Wyoming, we fly 855 miles to sunny Los Angeles, where we visit the site of the planned Go for Broke National Education Center.  During World War II, “Go For Broke!” was the rallying cry for the predominantly Japanese-American 100th Battalion and became the inspirational motto for all of the Japanese-American units who served during the world conflict.  Despite the fact that many of their family members were being held in US internment camps during the war, Japanese-American soldiers quickly became known for their loyalty, valor and military effectiveness.  In fact, the 100th Battalion became the most highly decorated military unit in the history of the United States Armed Forces, including 21 Medal of Honor and 9,846 Purple Heart recipients, earning the unit the nickname “The Purple Heart Battalion.”

Jack Rouse Associates worked with the 100th/442nd/MIS WWII Memorial Foundation to provide planning and concept design for the new Go For Broke National Education Center, which will be built adjacent to the Go For Broke Monument in Little Tokyo.  When completed, the Center will teach students and other visitors the values of citizenship, patriotism and leadership through the stories of these legendary soldiers.  JRA is honored to have worked on this prestigious and important project.

For the last stop of our US tour, we’ll “build” on our previous experiences, driving a short 88 miles down I-5 to LEGOLAND® California in Carlsbad.  LEGOLAND® is a unique interactive family theme park dedicated to the imagination and creativity of children.  Resting on 128 acres of park-like setting, LEGOLAND® California takes its inspirations from the company’s world famous LEGO bricks.  Within the park are five main activity areas: Village Green, Fun Town, Castle Hill, Imagination Zone and Miniland.  Each area relates to a different LEGO play theme and features a variety of interactives, rides, shows, playscapes and building workshops.  Working closely with the LEGO group, Sasaki and HOK, JRA provided master planning and attraction design for this popular theme park.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our JRA Journeys through the United States, and we look forward to designing new traveling experiences for you.  On our next series of Journeys, we’ll head west to the Far East, visiting JRA’s projects in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
 

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Project Spotlight - When (Little) Irish Eyes are Smiling: A Look at Imaginosity!

March 17, 2011

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Imaginosity! - Dublin, Ireland

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When (Little) Irish Eyes are Smiling:  A Look at Imaginosity!

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re visiting Ireland’s first children’s museum.  Opened in 2007, Imaginosity! Dublin Children’s Museum is dedicated to creating a meaningful, fun experience for children and adults to share.  The museum emphasizes arts and literacy education through a combination of interactive exhibits and daily programs.  Imaginosity’s design is reflective of the local culture, containing a variety of environments that encourage children to both “play” and “create” their own stories.  Specific exhibit areas include: a mini-town, a construction zone, art studios, performance art spaces and a unique two-story climbing structure.

Jack Rouse Associates and educational consultant Mary Sinker provided planning and design for Imaginosity! Dublin Children’s Museum.

 

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JRA Journeys: Cruising the US Midwest

March 15, 2011

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Arab American National Museum

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In our last JRA Journeys segment, we traveled down the Atlantic Coast all the way to Guatemala!  Today, we’ll be heading back up through the center of the United States, stopping in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Indiana before making camp in Dearborn, Michigan.



Our first stop is PowerBall Hall at the San Antonio Children’s Museum in San Antonio, Texas.  PowerBall Hall opened May 30th of this year and promotes cooperative play while conveying the basic principles of physics.  Themed loosely to a factory aesthetic, the new exhibit invites children to move colorful balls through a variety of launchers, interactive walls, a mini-rollercoaster, conveyer belts and a Bernoulli blower.  JRA provided conceptual and schematic design for the project and teamed with Boss Display, who provided fabrication and installation.

Four hundred miles up Interstate 35 lies our next stop, the Chisholm Heritage Center in Duncan, Oklahoma, which was designed and produced by JRA.  This renovated facility features more than 6,000 square feet of new exhibits and theatrical experiences and introduces visitors to the history and romance of the Old Chisholm Trail.  The trail was the major route along which Texas cattle ranchers drove their herds through the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to railroad points in Kansas.



The museum’s permanent exhibition contains a number of traditional and scenic environments where various artifacts from the museum’s collection are displayed.  The museum also contains a number of multimedia presentations.  In the “Campfire Theater,” guests are invited to sit around the campfire and learn about the harsh realities and legend of the Trail.  Within “The Chisholm Trail Experience,” an immersive theater, guests feel the wind, smell the prairie grass, feel drops of rain, see the sunrise and sunset and hear the constant rumble of cattle moving along the trail.


From the rumble of cattle we make a beeline for the roar of roller coasters, heading east up I-44 to Six Flags St. Louis and Mr. Freeze™.  JRA designed the themed interiors and exteriors of this fast-paced attraction, which is themed around the hit Warner Brothers movie, “Batman and Robin.”  The coaster’s queue is found inside Snowy’s ice cream factory, where the evil Mr. Freeze™ has secretly set up a covert cryogenics lab.  After a refreshing wait in line, visitors are blasted at speeds approaching 70 miles per hour through a 190-foot icy tunnel.  They are then hurled through 1,300 feet of diving, twisting track before they are sent back to the icy starting tunnel – in reverse!



We continue our journey via I-70 over 200 miles through Missouri to Indiana, where we are met with new type of adrenaline – the adrenaline of sport.  Jack Rouse Associates teamed with the NCAA and RATIO Architects, Inc. to re-invent the popular  NCAA Hall of Champions museum, located within Indianapolis’ White River State Park.  Closed in November 2007 due to an electrical fire, the 30,000-square-foot facility re-opened to the public in March of 2009. 

 


The renovated museum features vibrant graphics, one-of-a-kind memorabilia, exciting media experiences and attractive displays, along with a variety of interactive kiosks that immerse guests within the rich history of the NCAA and its 23 championship sports.  Highlights include a 4,000-square-foot “Play” gallery filled with a variety of “body-on” interactive exhibits, a Hall of Honor, a Member Showcase and a Media Room.  JRA, along with fabrication partner Geograph Industries, Inc., provided complete planning, design and project management for over 10,000 square feet of exhibits, interactives and displays located within the museum.

For our final destination, we head north 284 miles up I-69 to Dearborn, Michigan, and The Arab American National Museum.  This museum showcases the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Arab American communities throughout the United States.  With thoughtful exhibits and interactive designs, the center provides, along with other things, a resource center, a theater, an art gallery, a permanent exhibit and space for traveling exhibitions.



The permanent exhibit tells the stories of Arab Americans from around the US.  Its content is organized into three main chapters: “Coming to America,” “Living in America” and “Making an Impact.”  JRA provided complete planning, design and project management for the museum, which opened in May of 2005.

What a day!  We’ve come to the end of this JRA Journey and hope you’ve enjoyed learning about JRA’s diverse portfolio of projects in the US Midwest.  Join us next time, when we head into the western plains before taking a trip down the California coast.  Until then, happy travels!
 

Tags: JRA Journeys

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Blog 'N Learn: 16 Stages of Project Development - Preliminary Concept

March 10, 2011

Preliminary Concept Sketch

Preliminary Concept Sketch

16 Stages of Project Development

Stage 7 - Preliminary Concept Design

Last week, JRA began the legwork of designing your project.  We developed your criteria for success, began plotting locations for major attractions and analyzing adjacencies, and witnessed the first glimmerings of your storyline.  In Stage 7, we move on to Preliminary Concept Design, where the visual language of your story begins to take shape.

In the Preliminary Concept Design stage, the goal is to further develop the project’s overall exhibit story line and establish a project aesthetic (or design language).  All of these components must work together to meet the various parameters outlined in the Criteria for Success document.  In contrast to the development of the project’s Criteria for Success document, however, the development of the project’s story and design language is more subjective and emotionally driven.  It is this convergence of objective criteria and subjective emotions that will create meaningful and lasting museum, visitor center or park experiences.

The development of the project exhibit story line and initial aesthetic falls into several stages:

  • Content development
  • Draft story
  • Design language research
  • Suggest design language via reference images, etc.
  • Re-evaluation in light of Criteria for Success
  • Revise and expand story/design language, as required

Birdseye Sketch

These steps will be repeated and revisited several times before a final story and design language emerge that satisfy the criteria for success.  More than writers and designers are involved in the development of the project’s story and design language; it is a collaborative effort.  We began by listening to you and your advisors, but then we start to talk.  First, we talk among ourselves as the project team is assembled.  With so many disciplines on our team — writers, storytellers, planners, exhibit designers, producers and those with architectural backgrounds — we thrive on an open exchange of ideas.  We also know that no single discipline has a lock on good ideas or the truth, so we talk a lot.  We argue a lot, too, among ourselves, for we arrive at the best solution by challenging every idea and assumption along the way.

Eventually, we arrive at a suggested revised story line and design language.  Then, it is time for the first review.  Through in-person reviews, teleconferences, videoconferences, e-mail and communication through an area of our website dedicated to the project, we receive your input.  We begin to refine our ideas and then listen again to you to make sure we heard you correctly the first time.  Slowly, through revisions and rewrites, we agree on a final story, design style and thematic direction.  Our objective is to devise a story and design language that will provide all audiences with a memorable, enjoyable and repeatable experience.  No guest should have to labor to be able to comprehend what the exhibits or attractions are trying to convey.

The preliminary concept design creates a general level of direction sufficient to understand the project themes and styles developed through the various discussions.   Operational parameters, project costs, and schedules also begin to take shape.  Final deliverables for this stage in addition to the story line include:

  • Theme boards showing style, theme, tone, look and design
  • Space program chart, including associated support areas
  • Revised circulation and space allocation plans
  • Revised exhibit or attraction master plan
  • Preliminary plans, including general space requirements for major exhibits, environments, attractions and media
  • Sketches and/or color illustrations of major exhibits, environments, attractions and media

All of these items are packaged together to either help you provide a compelling argument for funding (if you have not yet received it) or to serve as the basis for Stage 8, Final Concept Design.  Join us next week as the designs, budget and schedule become increasingly more refined, and the images of your project begin coming to life.
 

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Blog 'N Learn: 16 Stages of Project Development - Master Planning and Programming

March 03, 2011

Bubble Diagram

Bubble Diagram

16 Stages of Project Development
Stage 6 – Master Planning and Programming


You’ve received (at least part of) your project’s funding, and government authorities have issued you the permits you need to begin design and construction.  You’ve also met JRA and gotten a sense of our design philosophy and how it could work for your project.  Now, the fun begins.

Our first step will be to meet with your project team, consultants and other stakeholders in either your offices or at the project site in order to fully understand the experiential and/or educational goals for the project.  Eventually, our job will be to take any initial ideas that have been developed by your team and further refine them so that they deliver the appropriate experiences and messages specific to your target group. These ideas will then be expanded and enhanced through creative brainstorming, research and design.

But at the outset, even before we begin our planning and design process, it will be necessary to understand your success criteria for the overall project. To determine these criteria, we would meet with the project team and embark on an in-depth assessment of the following:

  • Goals
  • Building requirements
  • Community expectations
  • Internal and external target audiences
  • Demographic and attendance targets
  • Lessons learned from other similar exhibits/museums/parks
  • Operational realities
  • Financial parameters
  • Educational guidelines
  • Internal and external research

Based upon our review of all relevant material input from our initial meetings with the overall project team, as well as any feasibility research conducted in Step 5, our team will present a rough outline of the direction they believe they have been given and draft a “Criteria for Success” document that clearly outlines the criteria on which all future development decisions will be based.  Upon confirmation, our design staff will proceed with planning and conceptualizing your project.



In addition to the Criteria for Success, in the Master Planning and Programming stage our team will help develop the project’s story line, scope and general character.  This serves a point of reference for future design decisions, not a perspective blueprint for the final design.  The master plan and its program provide a firm outline for the project, while allowing sufficient flexibility for changes and modifications.  Deliverables in this stage include adjacency diagrams, preliminary and revised storylines, bubble diagrams and descriptions of major exhibit areas, rough sketches of potential key areas, and a preliminary facility program, all of which we would present to you at the end of this stage.

With strategy in hand, we delve deeper into your project’s story and begin crafting its overall design language.  Tune in next week for Stage 7 – Preliminary Concept Design.


 

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Project Spotlight - Throwback Edition: Celebrating McKenna Children's Museum

March 01, 2011

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McKenna Children's Museum - New Braunfels, Texas

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It’s time for another Project Spotlight: Throwback Edition!  This week, we’ll celebrate the 5th anniversary of the McKenna Children’s Museum in New Braunfels, Texas.

Opened in New Braunfels in March 2006, the McKenna Children’s Museum features more than 10,000 square feet of exhibits for children and their caregivers.  Through a variety of interactive exhibits and programs, museum visitors of all ages experience the joy of learning and the power of play in a wholesome, safe, welcoming environment.  The museum’s exhibits and programs reflect the diverse physical and societal cultures of the local region and were developed in line with the most current knowledge concerning the developmental needs of children: physical, cognitive, social and emotional.

The entry into the museum features the sights and sounds of a typical summer day on the Comal River, an allusion to New Braunfels’ famous river tubing experience.  After ticketing, guests find themselves “underwater,” swimming with hundreds of paper mâché fish and dodging the dangling arms and legs of tubers at the surface.  Exploring further, guests encounter interactives married with scenes from a ranch, a town square and a hospital.  At the Hill Country Campground, one can fish, prepare “food” and climb a great tree, a scene evoking the imagery of surrounding Hill Country, Texas.

JRA, along with educational consultant (and former guest blogger), Mary Sinker, provided completed design and project management for the museum.

“We have received positive remarks from parents and children alike,” says Senior Project Director, Mike Meyer.  “The children love the opportunity to play in this themed version of New Braunfels.  Whether they chose to roam the wilderness, be a rancher, try their hand at journalism or even go into space, each child finds something at McKenna Children’s Museum.  Looking back at the experience of designing the project, the caring (and persistent) Texas staff stand out as memorable.  Whenever we had a concern about finding something for an exhibit, they said, ‘this is Texas! Tell us what you want, and we’ll find it!’”

Happy birthday, McKenna!  Thursday, we’ll return to the 16 Stages of Project Development and begin programming and master planning your project.
 

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