Conference World Tour 2011: IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo

June 30, 2011

(L-to-R) Shahryn Azmi, Randy Smith, Guney Ikiz, Keith James, Ron Bunt, Zarina Rafique, Mehmet Emec, Randy Vuksta, Brent Ellis

(L-to-R) Shahryn Azmi, Randy Smith, Guney Ikiz, Keith James, Ron Bunt, Zarina Rafique, Mehmet Emec, Randy Vuksta, Brent Ellis

The final leg of our “conference world tour” took place from June 21st through the 24th in Singapore, host of the 2011 Asian Attractions Expo.

Held at the impressive Resorts World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, the annual conference features a variety of expert-led education sessions, one-of-a-kind evening events, exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of Singapore’s world-class attractions, and an extensive trade show featuring consultants and suppliers from around the world. This year’s conference was a huge success and broke records both for general attendance and the number of tradeshow participants.

JRA had a significant presence at the show, with almost a dozen team members attending from JRA’s design, project management and marketing groups, including Shahryn Azmi and Zarina Rafique from JRA Southeast Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Expo’s opening night reception was held at the recently opened Universal Studios Singapore. While somewhat smaller than the Universal parks in Orlando and Los Angles, the 49-acre park is packed with a variety of state-of-the art rides, attractions, themed areas and shows. JRA favorites included the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure water ride; the whimsical Madagascar: A Crate Adventure dark ride; and the exciting Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride indoor coaster.

Several of JRA staffers had the opportunity later in the week to explore the rest of Sentosa Island, which features a number of JRA-designed attractions, including the Merlion and Fort Siloso.

The JRA team also attended an elegant evening event hosted by our friends from Kingsmen held at The Jewel Box at the top of the iconic Mt. Faber. A big thanks to Kingsmen for hosting such a wonderful reception.

Next year’s conference will take place in Hong Kong from June 5th through the 8th.
 

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Project Spotlight - Throwback Edition: Amazing Chicago

June 28, 2011

Amazing Chicago

Amazing Chicago

This month marks the 5th anniversary of Amazing Chicago, located on the Windy City’s Navy Pier.  Part fun house and part cultural journey, Amazing Chicago invites guests to navigate a series of mirror mazes and twisted tunnels set in a Chicago landscape. 

Once inside Amazing Chicago, guests journey through various infinity-maze corridors and colorful sets depicting Chicago scenes.  From dark underground tunnels to stunning architectural landmarks, Amazing Chicago takes visitors on a tour like no other. 

Throughout the experience, special effects, music and narration bring sights and sounds of Chicago to life.  It is the city’s first full-sensory maze experience. 

Jack Rouse Associates designed the attraction and enlisted the help of famed London-based maze designer Adrian Fisher to design the mazes.  Amazing Chicago is operated by Premier Yachts, the nation’s premier harbor cruise company.  Premier Yachts owns and operates ships in Boston, Washington, D.C. and other Navy Pier attractions.

This Thursday, we’ll finish up the summer edition of our Conference World Tour 2011 with IAAPA Asia.
 

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Meet the Team: Erin Graham

June 21, 2011

Teleportation, soccer and LEGOs.  Just another day in the life of JRA Architecture co-op, Erin Graham.


If you could have any super powers, what would they be?

Definitely teleportation, because I could go anywhere! I could see the sun rise over the pyramids in the morning, grab lunch at a Parisian cafe, visit Tokyo in the afternoon, pop in on my friends for a bit, have dinner in Sydney, and still be back in time to see Times Square fully lit. I wouldn't even have to pay for gas!

What is your favorite part of the design process?

Though it can really make design challenging, my favorite part is the problem solving. I love when a constraint makes me think harder about a design: trying to make new things fit with old things, make less space seem like more space, make a building interact with its site, or make architecture that represents a philosophy.

What sport do you enjoy watching/playing?

Soccer. I started playing when I was four and I still love it. One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is play a pick-up game with my friends. I also like watching international play and the Premier League games when they're on television.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I've always wanted to design for LEGO. Those little blocks brought me so much joy when I was younger and still do. They're even what got me interested in design in the first place. I think playing with LEGOs and finding new ways to combine the bricks to build sets would be the ultimate job.
 

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JRA Journeys: Conference World Tour 2011 - ECSITE

June 16, 2011

Elektrobalt the Poetry Robot - Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw, Poland

Elektrobalt the Poetry Robot - Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw, Poland

After the ASPAC conference in Guangdong, the next stop on our museum conference “world tour” was Warsaw, Poland, host of the 2011 ECSITE (European Network of Science Centers and Museums) conference.

Held from May 26 – 28, the conference attracted over 1,000 delegates from Europe and beyond.  The theme of this year’s conference was “Freedom.”

Each year that I attend the ECSITE conference, I am impressed by how well the conference is organized by the host science center.  This year actually exceeded by expectations as Copernicus Science Centre raised the bar in terms of their preparation and hospitality.
 

Copernicus Science Centre - Warsaw, Poland


The US$131 million dollar, 215,000-square foot museum just opened this past November and is already one of the more popular attractions in Warsaw.  During a presentation about the science center early in the conference, we were told that on some weekend days, people actually wait for hours outside just to get in, as the center reaches its capacity quickly.  The popularity of the science center is no doubt due to the quality of its exhibitions, programs and energetic staff. 

Throughout the conference there was ample time to explore the science center’s various galleries.

Some of my favorite exhibits and galleries included:

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  • Elektrobalt, a robot poet inspired by a character created by late Polish writer Stanislaw Lem.
  • A kinetic sculpture illustrating various types of wheels and gears.
  • A bubble sculpture which creates famous portraits (Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis hasn’t left this building)
  • The museum’s beautiful and relaxing rooftop garden.
  • A series mechanical puppets illustrating science-based content.

Fansailing exhibit at Copernicus Science Centre


At the same time that Copernicus was hosting the ECSITE conference, they were also hosting their popular Science Picnic event.

Held every year in Warsaw since 1997, Science Picnic is an open-air science festival that attracts over 200,000 visitors.  Over 250 institutions from Poland and abroad participate in the event, including various science centers and museums, universities, research institutes, science-related foundations and scientific groups.

Through various demonstrations, shows, exhibitions and interactives, Science Picnic conveys science-based content in a way that is both entertaining and educational.

Congratulation to Copernicus’ management and staff, who simultaneously delivered two very successful science events in one week!


Honda’s walking robot, ASIMO makes a first ever appearance in Poland during the 2011 Science Picnic.

In two weeks, we’ll make the last stop on our Summer Tour – Sentosa, Singapore and IAAPA Asia.
 

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Outside the Studio: Another Project Manager on the Way!

June 14, 2011

From left - Lori Bevis, Chris Chynoweth (and Baby Amos), Pam Ford, Kelly Ellis, Anita Daugherty, Heather Witt, Mary Brink, Dana Moore, Clara Rice and Linda Round.

From left - Lori Bevis, Chris Chynoweth (and Baby Amos), Pam Ford, Kelly Ellis, Anita Daugherty, Heather Witt, Mary Brink, Dana Moore, Clara Rice and Linda Round.

It was an evening of celebration as the ladies of JRA toasted the impending arrival of the newest member of the team!  Executive Assistant Chris Chynoweth and her husband, JRA Project Manager Mark Amos, are expecting a daughter in late July.  It was a great excuse for a party, presents, and Graphic Designer Teresa John's famous cupcakes!

Chris joined JRA last fall when she and Mark returned from Abu Dhabi, where Mark was working on Ferrari World.  She has been a fabulous addition to the team.  We wish them nothing but the best and can't wait to meet their little girl!

Congratulations from everyone at Jack Rouse Associates. 

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Project Spotlight - Throwback Edition: Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum

June 09, 2011

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Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum

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Greetings!  For this Project Spotlight: Throwback Edition, we’re celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Gateway Colorado Automobile Museum, a museum devoted to understanding and celebrating the history, science, design and social impact of the American car.  The museum features the collection of John S. Hendricks, founder of Discovery Communications, Inc., the leading global real-world media and entertainment company.

The centerpiece of the facility is a TimeLine of historical vehicles and surrounding the TimeLine are a variety of themed galleries, including the Mass Mobility Gallery, Hollywoood High Style Gallery, American Muscle Gallery, and F-88 Gallery.  Overall, more than 40 cars are displayed alongside archival advertisements, high-definition media pieces and science interactives developed according to local and regional academic curriculum standards.  The centerpiece of the museum is a one-of-a-kind 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 “Dream Car,” which was purchased for a record $3.24 million.

“It was really refreshing working on the Gateway Auto Museum,” said Brian Donahue, Senior Project Director.  “The client had a passion.  A passion for classic automobiles.  A passion that he decided to share with the community he lived in no matter what the cost, or lack of any possible return on investment.  It was a true act of selflessness...”

Jack Rouse Associates provided complete design and project management for this 20,000-square-foot museum.



 

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Meet the Team: Brent Ellis

June 07, 2011

For today's Meet the Team segment, we're introducing you to JRA Project Manager, Brent Ellis!

With a career spanning over 25 years, Brent Ellis has established himself as a proven, results-oriented, hands-on construction and development professional.  Brent has successfully implemented a variety of multi-million dollar projects, for which he has provided contract negotiations, project estimating, document preparation, building code and regulations adherence oversight, material purchasing and site management through to certification of occupancy.

After spending seven years as Manager, Facility Maintenance & Construction for Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, Brent joined JRA in 2007, and was part of the project management team responsible for delivering Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – the world’s largest indoor theme park.  Brent is currently working on two major theme parks, both set to open in Europe within the next three years.

Throughout his career, Brent’s unique combination of interpersonal skills and technical knowledge, has allowed him to successfully coordinate a variety of trades, develop partnerships among project participants, and build positive rapport with consultants and local officials, vendors and clients, all while adhering to each project’s set schedule and budget parameters.


 

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JRA Journeys: Museum Conference World Tour 2011 - ASPAC

June 02, 2011

In keeping with our recent JRA Journeys: Asia segments, VP of Marketing Shawn McCoy offers insight on his Museum Conference World Tour.  First stop - Guangzhou, China.


One of the best things about working here at JRA is the fact that part of our job is to attend conferences and visit a variety of museums and attractions around the world.  Last month, many of those conferences fell over the course of three consecutive weeks.

Today’s post takes an in-depth look at the first conference on our “world tour”:   ASPAC – The Association of Asia-Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres, which was held at the Guangdong Science Center in Guangzhou, China.



The Guangdong Science Center is the largest in the world, with a structural area of 137,500 meters (1,480,000 square feet) of space.  While the size of the building is certainly impressive, the first thing you notice as you approach the building is its beautiful design, which is inspired by the form of an open flower.

The opening reception of the conference was very entertaining and featured a variety of traditional Chinese performances, including entertaining acts by groups of dancers, acrobats and musicians. 



The next day I had the opportunity to walk through the science center which features a number of state-of-the art galleries, including the Children’s World gallery designed by JRA.  I was fortunate enough to be treated to a guided tour of the gallery by two of the science center’s young and energetic staff members, who said that the gallery is very popular, and is visited by over 3,000 guests each day on the weekend.  Despite having been opened for three years with heavy visitation, the gallery looked brand new, which is a testament to the science center’s dedication to maintenance and cleanliness.  My favorite parts of the gallery include the children’s driving school and repair shop, the walk-through cave and forest area and an interactive exhibit teaching kids how moon pies are made.


The conference itself was very informative, very well organized and well attended, with delegates from a variety of Asia-Pacific science centers.

The theme of the conference was “The Missions of Modern Science Centers and Museums: Opportunities and Challenges,” and there were a variety of thought-provoking presentations.  One of my favorite presentations was a video detailing how the Petrosains Discovery Centre in Malaysia sent a variety of delegates to the Science Alive! science center in New Zealand after that country’s recent earthquake. Not only did the Petrosains representatives provide valuable guidance to the science center on how to present entertaining outreach programs, but also provided the citizens of Christchurch with a bit of welcome distraction from recent events.

The closing ceremony was held on a riverboat that took delegate up and down the beautiful Pearl River, which features a variety of stunning architectural wonders, including the colorful Guangzhou TV Tower and the iconic Liede Bridge.



Next week, we take a look at the next conference we attended on our tour:  AAM – The American Association of Museums conference held in Houston.
 

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JRA Journeys: Malaysia and the Philippines

June 01, 2011

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The Mind Museum - Taguig, Philippines

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Selamat siang (“good afternoon” in Malay)! For our last JRA Journey through Asia, we’ll be visiting the beautiful countries of Malaysia and the Philippines. 

Driving over the South China Sea via a bridge from our last stop in Singapore, we arrive in Malaysia.  This constitutional monarchy achieved independence from the British Empire in 1957 and is split into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo.   Malaysia comprises many ethnic groups and languages and has a strong tradition in literature and music to contrast its science and technology economy.

We recently highlighted the opening of the KidzWorld pavilion at the National Science Centre of Malaysia (Pusat Sains Negara) in Kuala Lumpur.  Jack Rouse Associates also provided conceptual design work and master planning for Lok Lawi Seaside Resort, a planned 50-acre tourist attraction in Kota Kinabalu, Shabah on the northern coast of Borneo.  Phase I included a themed entertainment area, featuring a large wave pool and several water rides throughout the adult area, teenage area and children’s play area.  The theme is based on the tropical flora, fauna and architecture specific to the region.  Phase II involved the development of several themed thrill rides, including a rapid river ride, spill-water ride, flume ride, adult bumper boat rides and the addition of several water slides.



We now travel east back over the South China Sea until we reach the Philippines.  With 92 million people of various cultures and ethnicities, the Philippines is the 12th most populated country in the world.  With Magellan’s “discovery” of the Philippines in 1521 (people had inhabited the Philippines since prehistoric times), the island nation came under Spanish control (the country is named after King Philip II of Spain).  It remained Spanish until the early 20th Century, when the United States took over, but finally gained independence after World War II.  Its culture melds its Spanish and American influences with traditions found in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.

In Taguig, in the district of the Filipino capital of Manila, construction is underway for the Mind Museum.  This innovative new science center will serve as the cultural anchor for Bonifacio Global City, a new 593-acre development, and will feature 4,900 square meters of interactive science and technology exhibitions within five major galleries.  The goal of the Mind Museum is to convey important and accurate science principles through the use of interactive, multi-media and multi-sensory exhibits firmly based in a story context.  Current story topics include The Universe, Life, Nature, the Atom and Technology.



Each of the major exhibit galleries, or “spheres,” will include an iconic “centerpiece,” which will be surrounded by 25 to 30 exhibits embedded within the overall gallery aesthetic and/or architecture.  Corridors connecting the five spheres will provide further opportunities for interpretation and immersion within the various story themes.  JRA provided master planning, conceptual and schematic design for this innovative project.

That brings us to the end of our JRA Journeys through Asia.  If you’re in the area, be sure to visit our JRA offices in Kuala Lumpur!  Join us next time, as we head west to visit JRA’s projects in the Middle East. Till then, we wish you safe journeys of your own, and remember – it’s never too late to have an adventure!  Paalam (“Goodbye” in Tagalong)!

 

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