Project Spotlight: Making it Easy to Be Green

April 22, 2011

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Kohl Children's Museum - Glenview, Illinois

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Welcome to this special Earth Day edition of Project Spotlight.  Founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day is now celebrated by 175 countries around the world, and was formally recognized by United Nations in 1990.  The actual April 22nd date of Earth Day is a relatively arbitrary one, chosen by Nelson because it would not fall on any important holidays or school exams and would thus enable more students to participate.

As the world has become more environmentally conscious, many of our clients have requested that our designs meet specific the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) criteria.  So, in honor of Earth Day, we sharing three of our “greenest” design projects.



Cordova Center on the Rock Environmental Learning Center
Lake Red Rock, Iowa


Jack Rouse Associates recently worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide interpretive planning and design for a LEED-certified environmental learning center to be located on the bluffs of Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest lake. The overall goal of the project is to educate the public on environmental stewardship, and build support for conservation of Iowa’s land and water resources. The central theme will be one of relationships between human need and natural resources at Lake Red Rock and within the Des Moines River Watershed.  The center will combine several components into a regional destination for experiencing and understanding our natural environment and will also enhance the quality of life for both visitors and residents.  In addition to the 30,000-square-foot learning center, other components will include new trailheads, rental cabins, and picnic sites to further enhance the educational, recreational, environmental, and cultural experiences for individuals of all ages. In addition, a stage for live performances and programming will augment the public’s interaction with both nature and culture.



Museum of Broadcast Communications
Chicago, Illinois


Jack Rouse Associates provided initial planning and design for the new Museum of Broadcast Communications.  Currently in fundraising, the museum was awarded a $1.2 million grant by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and is expected to earn a gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council under the LEED rating system.

The Museum's new home, located within a renovated building on the corner of State and Kinzie, will have dramatically reduced electricity demands due to its energy efficient design.  The museum will also feature soy-based roof coating and insulation. The energy saved from the upgrade will result in less pollution and reduced operating and maintenance expenses every year.   Educational kiosks and media access points will be installed in the museum to tell visitors "the green building story," showcasing the benefits of the green features incorporated at the Museum.


Kohl Children’s Museum
Glenview, Illinois


The  is a hands-on children’s museum for children ages birth to eight.  Working with the client and educational consultant Mary Sinker, Jack Rouse Associates provided complete master planning, conceptual design and the majority of schematic design for approximately 17,000 square feet of exhibits and environments.  Detail Design and fabrication was provided by Layman Design, Inc. and Derse Museum Group, while the museum’s Water Works area was designed by Claro Creative Studios.

The museum believes in the power of imaginative play and features creative interactive exhibits with immersive environments, many of which have a “green” focus.  Adventures in Art often employs recycled materials, and the Nature Explorers exhibit explains the basics of recycling.  The facility received Silver Certification from the LEED program.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this cross-country tour of JRA’s environmentally-friendly designs.  Remember, even small, individual acts make a huge difference.  It’s as easy as turning off a light when you exit a room, planting a tree, or ordering a recycling bin.

Have a GREEN day!


 

 

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JRA Journeys: Passport to China Part 2 - Guandong, Macau and Hong Kong

April 19, 2011

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Guangdong Science Center - Guangzhou, China

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Feliz Terça-feira (“Happy Tuesday”)!   Why am I writing in Portuguese for a blog about Asia?  You’ll just have to read on!

In our last JRA Journeys segment, we traveled to Asia, exploring a cultural center in central China before traveling to this ancient country’s south east coast.  Today, we’ll continue southward through Guangzhou before visiting the territories of Macau and Hong Kong.

From where we last left off at Harborland, we’ll travel 693 miles down the coast of the South China Sea to Guangzhou, in the province of Guangdong.  Located at the mouth of the Pearl River, Guangzhou is the third largest city in China.  It is also the home of the Guangdong Science Center, the largest science-technology center in the world coming in at 450,000 square feet.

Guangdong Science Center’s 20,000-square-foot “Children’s World” takes children on an interactive exploration of their home, neighborhood, city and world.  Children’s World features a number of immersive environments and interactives.  Highlights include a children’s driving school and mechanic shop, a role-play farm where children can pick their own fruit, a sand pit where guests can unearth dinosaur “fossils”, a walkthrough body experience and a dynamic water play area.  Jack Rouse Associates provided complete exhibit design for this dynamic children’s experience.



Children and parents alike will enjoy our next Guangdong destination, which lies 90 miles south in the city of Zhuhai.  In this resort town on what is known as the “Chinese Riviera,” we find New Yuan Ming Palace.  Working closely with EDAW Hong Kong, Jack Rouse Associates provided theming as part of a larger feasibility analysis and renovation plan for this 140-hectare park.



Since its opening in 1997, this partial reproduction of Beijing’s once famous Old Summer Palace has been a popular destination in southern China.  The renovation plan was launched to reinvigorate the park in anticipation of its 10-year anniversary.  New attractions and programs have been added to available space, while existing attractions are being adapted to meet the ever-demanding market expectations.  Upon completion of the renovation, the New Yuan Ming Palace will provide enriched activities and new highlights to the visitors.

On the western side of the Pearl River Delta, and bordering the Guangdong Province to the south, lies Macau.  Once a Portuguese colony (the language is still spoken along with Cantonese), Macau is now one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China and a major gambling and tourist destination. 



Pier 16 – Property Development, Ltd. Is currently developing a new HK$2.4 billion integrated resort, Ponte 16, that will be situated on a 2.3-hectare waterfront site within Macau’s Inner Harbor.  The resort will consist of 1.3 million square feet of high quality entertainment and attractions, include a five-star hotel, a casino and an entertainment complex, conceptualized by Jack Rouse Associates and featuring a variety of themed areas, shows, restaurants and retail experiences.

For more “grown-up” fun, we journey across the South China Sea to our final destination, Hong Kong.  China’s other special administrative region, Hong Kong was a colony of the United Kingdom until 1997.  It is currently one of the most densely populated regions in the world.  All those 7+ million people need something to do, right?  Enter JRA and Ocean Park Hong Kong.



Ocean Park hired Jack Rouse Associates to revise the original master plan for the park’s Lowlands theme area.  The study analyzed all existing attractions, the goals of the park and expected attendance increases.  The subsequent master plan called for renovating existing attractions and using available land for new attractions like a themed rapid-river ride and a 4,000 seat Dolphinarium.  In addition, the plan called for a new front gate, entry plaza and retail and food venues.  The entire master plan was designed to incorporate the park’s existing marine life and animal education theme.  The park currently welcomes over 5 million visitors annually, making it the world’s #15 theme park for annual attendance.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our JRA Journeys: Passport to China.  If you’ve visited one of our Chinese attractions, be sure to comment here or on our Facebook page and let us know what you think! 

Next time, we’ll travel west to Singapore.  One of the busiest ports in the world, this island country is enjoying an influx of both immigrants and tourists and is fast becoming Southeast Asia’s entertainment capital.  Until then, happy travels!



 

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Blog N' Learn: 16 Stages of Project Development - Detail Design

April 14, 2011

Detail Design Exhibit Plan

Detail Design Exhibit Plan

16 Stages of Project Development
Stage 10: Detail Design


We have now reached the final stage of JRA’s design process for your project.  During the detail design stage, designs and storylines are defined to a level accurately describing each attraction.  The work begins to illustrate how the project will be constructed, fabricated and produced.  Technologies are determined and delivery systems identified to enable the project team to evaluate the design solutions for their effect on the budget and the quality of the visitor experience.

Flooring Plan

It is important to note that, due to the nature of the selected components, the level of design required for installation and/or fabrication may vary.  Determining factors include the project budget, size and schedule, as well as the needs of the selected fabricator and/or media producer (some fabricators can build off of a concept, others require details down to the last flange).  JRA will provide vendors with the appropriate level of documentation for fabrication and production.

The detail design stage is the stage at which the fabricators and media specialists are chosen to take our designs and manifest them into your project.  The process begins with a Request for Qualifications document sent to a long list of vendors, which asks for generic items such as financial information, staffing, relevant overall experience, and relevant experience particular to your project’s specific region or subject matter.  From there, we review these RFQs with you and get down to our short list.  Those on the short list are then sent a Request for Proposal package, which includes items such as an exhibit matrix, project schedule and detailed descriptions of major attraction, museum and/or media components.  The process thus ensures that all vendors are receiving (and budgeting) the same information.  Once all the RFPs are received and reviewed by your team and JRA, the winning bidder is identified and contracted.  Often, this entire process occurs at the halfway point of detail design.  The selected fabricators, AV providers and media producers can then help value engineer JRA’s design through the rest of the phase.
 


Graphic Template

Deliverables at this stage may include:  

  • Detail design CAD plans
  • Detail design elevations and sections
  • Color and surface treatment selections
  • Object and case layouts
  • Final graphic templates for specified attractions, rides, exhibits, environments, and media
  • Final project matrix
  • Final design intent documents for lighting/audio/visual control for specified attractions, rides, exhibits, environments and media
  • Performance specifications for specified attractions, rides, exhibits, environments, and media
  • Revised budget allocations document

“Detail design is where all the hard work of everyone's previous design accurately describes each element in the project,” says Matthew Wheeler, JRA Senior Project Director.  “Pay attention to the small details and it will greatly reduce the risk of surprise. Even the grandest projects depend on the success of the smallest pieces.”

After detail design, JRA’s role shifts from that of designer to that of executive producer, overseeing the fabricator, AV hardware vendor, media producer(s), lighting contractor and any other specialist subcontractors.  The fabricator begins their process by producing a set of production documents, and tender documents for the base build construction/integration are developed.  We’ll tackle this last drawing challenge in Stage 11 – Production Documentation.  Then, it’s time to make our 2D drawings your 3D experiences.

Want additional information or have a question on any of our 16 Stages?  Write in the comment area below, or check our Facebook page!





 

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Meet the Team: Rob Morgan

April 12, 2011

Senior Project Director, Rob Morgan

Senior Project Director, Rob Morgan

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…JRA Senior Project Director, Rob Morgan!  Found out about his other super power aspirations in this installment of Meet the Team.

Best thing about the industry:
It has to be the variety of work, both in terms of subject matter and location / culture.  It’s always fresh and challenging - no single solution works everywhere, and you’re always being forced out of your box…

I beat a creative block by …  
Getting away from the issue and doing something else for a time, or by simply starting over with a new approach.   Some ideas weren’t meant to happen, better to cut your losses and get on with things.

I’m reading …
“The Next 100 Years a Forecast for the 21st Century” by George Friedman
Ours is a global industry, so it’s important to know what may be happening economically and politically around the world in the next few decades.  China and Russia will continue to be strong markets for the next 20 years or so, but the big money is on Brazil and South America.

If you could have any super powers, what would they be?
I do this one with my son all the time… it would have to be – super strength, flying and probably invisibility.  My son usually says “vast wealth” but I figure that’s not so much of a “super power” as it is a desire, and of course he’s only 12 so…

For ideas, I read …

I look for visual solutions mainly - I go to the contemporary art/architecture world.  That’s where the new and innovative ideas are coming from.  My favorites are “Artforum” and “frieze”

 

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Blog N' Learn: 16 Stages of Project Development - Schematic Design

April 07, 2011

Schematic Design - Color Rendering

Schematic Design - Color Rendering

16 Stages of Project Development
Stage 9: Schematic Design


Welcome back to our Blog N’ Learn and the 16 Stages of Project Development.  You now have a sense of the general feel and look of your project.  Now we’ll start tinkering with the nuts and bolts. 

Schematic design defines the size, function, appearance and basic requirements of the facility and all of its attractions.  Materials prepared represent the story lines, design intent, theme, appearance and approach to the fabrication, construction and production, and functional and operational requirements are finalized. 

Schematic Lighting Plan

In this stage, the various sub-fields begin to take on their own importance.  Multimedia briefs are finalized.  Lighting drawings are added, as are diagrams of where the AV control rooms will be housed.  Our team begins the RFQ and RFP processes to identify the exhibit fabricators and media providers.  Graphics become more individualized as opposed to just a template.  Along the way, we’ll be meeting with you to make sure that our work continues to fall in line with your aspirations for the project while adhering to the prescribed schedule and budget criteria.

Materials Study

“This is really where ‘the rubber starts meeting the road’, as we say in the States,” says Rob Morgan, Senior Project Director.  “Here we are clearly defining our interpretive approach and beginning to finalize guest take-aways and desired outcomes.”

Deliverables at this stage include:

  • Schematic CAD plans
  • Facility interface information for specified exhibits, environments, rides and media
  • Schematic elevations and sections
  • Color and surface treatment studies
  • Schedules of finishes
  • Finalized artifacts or objects list
  • Long list of vendors for fabrication and media and RFQs
  • Preliminary design intent documents for lighting/audio/visual control for specified exhibits, environments, rides and media
  • Updated graphics schedule and style guides
  • Multimedia briefs
  • Updated project budget
  • Updated project schedule

Getting closer to build time!  From this point, the design moves to a level of specificity from which it can then be fabricated and produced.  Tune in next time for Stage 10 – Detail Design.

 

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JRA Journeys: China

April 05, 2011

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Harborland - Ningbo, China

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Ni hao (“hi”), and welcome back to JRA Journeys!  On our last expedition we visited JRA’s diverse museum and entertainment projects while cruising down the California coast.  Today, we’re getting our passports stamped and boarding a plane and heading to East.

In previous Project Spotlights, we’ve highlighted our work in China’s big cities – museums like Beijing Children’s and brand experiences like Coca Cola’s pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo.  On this trip, we’ll take a look at our work in some of China’s more remote towns and seaside resorts.

Our first leg of the journey takes us to the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, located in the north central area of the country.  In the year 651 AD, Caliph Uthman ibn Affan dispatched a deputation to Chang’an, capital of the Tang Dynasty.  This event marked the beginning of a friendship between China and the Arabic world and is considered by Chinese Muslims to be the birth of Islam in China.  When completed, the JRA-designed Arabic International Cultural City in Ningxia will celebrate and preserve this rich culture, with its mission “to introduce Chinese Muslim culture to the world, and the world’s Muslim culture to China.”

JRA worked with The Alms and Special Foundation of Ningxia Islamic Association for the Promotion of International Economy, Culture & Friendship to develop the initial concepts for this innovative cultural park.  Early concepts call for an Arabic theme park, The Arabic International Cultural Museum, a Mosque, an Arabic language school, an outdoor bazaar, a medical research center and unique residential villas.

Traveling southeast 470 miles, we arrive at Zhengzhou, one of the “Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China” and the site of the Grand View of the Yellow River.  Located on 300 acres, this cultural theme park blends history and entertainment into a vibrant family attraction.  The park’s featured element is a recreation of the great Yellow River, with large-scale replicas of attractions and historical sites along its shores.  JRA provided master planning and conceptual design services for the attraction and coordinated the transition of JRA’s design efforts to local architects via a number of visits to the Henan Province.


After experiencing the gentle flow of the Yellow River, we venture southeast to feel the splash of a rapids ride at the HarborLand theme park in the coastal Zhejiang Province.  Located on the base of Ningbo’s Phoenix Mountain in Ningbo’s Beilun District, the 50-acre park features a variety of rides, activities, and shows based on a fairy-tale story about two children who discover their destinies as descendants of the Phoenix.  The story follows Feng Feng and Huang Huang (whose names, together, mean “phoenix”) as they escape the imprisonment of an evil wizard and travel the world to experience phoenix stories from many different cultures before taking their places as the prince and princess of Phoenix City, where all of the world’s phoenixes gather for celebration.


Specific areas of the park include: the “Flight of the Phoenix” coaster and a variety of family rides, a sky cycle, a character carousel and live storytelling show, immersive theaters and character shows, a children’s driving school and archaeological dig, a rapid river ride, bumper cars a shopping bazaar and a variety of festive games.

Working with its client – a government organization called the NETD, which was charged with creating a 39.6-square-kilometer development zone in Ningbo – Jack Rouse Associates provided overall planning, as well as conceptual and schematic design for this 65-acre theme park. 

That brings us to the end of this JRA Journey.  On our next journey, we’ll continue southward to the Guangdong region of China before venturing to the islands of Hong Kong and Macau. Until then, zai jian (“goodbye”)!
 

Tags: Asia , JRA Journeys

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