July 28, 2011
Jack Rouse Associates CEO/Owner Keith James (second from L) at the Grand Opening of HarborLand Park in Ningbo, China.
You’ve gotten your permits. You’ve been shown the money. You’ve hired JRA (good move ☺). You’ve seen your project conceptualized, elevated, sectioned, rendered, prototyped, fabricated and installed. Today’s the day – it’s time for the world to see your project…
In our last 16 Stages of Project Development segment, we’ll make sure every last ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ crossed, that your staff is trained, and that you know how to maintain and operate your new facility before we cut the ribbon and welcome your guests.
Stage 14, Pre- or “Soft” Opening, is the opportunity to give your project a ‘test drive’ before Opening Day. It is at this stage that your operating team and systems are integrated with the facility, the staff and all of its attractions. JRA’s producers and art directors – along with the fabricators and media professionals – work side-by-side with your facility’s management, operations and maintenance staff, and you’ve hosted personnel training programs to prepare the staff for opening. Once you have determined that your operations team is ready, you’ll want to invite friends and family to test out the attractions, rides and/or interactives. Items that need last minute attention are identified, placed on the punch list, and addressed. Once these issues have been rectified, there is often a VIP or press sneak peak to generate buzz for the public grand opening.
“All the work we do in the final stages of the project supports the idea of it coming to life with the addition of the guest,” says JRA Art Director, David Ferguson. “Whether we are finishing a detail that still is incomplete or correcting something we thought would work but didn't in the testing of the idea, the last moments before we open a project are the most anxious.”
So here we are – Stage 15. Congratulations! You’ve opened the doors to the general public for the first time, and all of the work from the last 24-36 months has finally come to fruition. “To see the guest immersed in the attraction and actually enjoying themselves is the ultimate payoff”, says Ferguson. “That is why we do it. We don't think about how much work it took because it was all worth it.” Adjustments continue to be made based on audience reaction, but all in all, the journey has finally come to a (hopefully) glorious end.
…Or has it?
As you may have noticed, there is still one stage missing. It’s a year (or several) after opening. Guests love your new park, attraction or museum – so much so that you have maxed out your capacity, or you want to add some new elements to keep them coming back for more. You guessed it – it’s time for Stage 16 – EXPANSION! As with any product that is designed and produced for public consumption, operating the experience with paying guests will assist you in planning expansion for future years. And when you go through the 16 Stages again this time, you’ll already now the players, steps and processes to make your expansion a success.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our journey through the 16 Stages of Project Development. Questions? Feel free to comment here or post a note on our Facebook or Twitter pages. Tuesday, we’ll meet another of our fabulous co-ops. Until then, thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!
Tags: Blog N Learn
July 26, 2011
Guten Tag und Wilkommen to another edition of JRA Journeys. So, far, we’ve traversed the United States from sea to shining sea and discovered the wonders of Southeast Asia. Today, we’re crossing the globe to visit two of our projects in beautiful Germany. With 81.8 million people, Germany is the most populous country in the European Union, and its economy is the fourth largest in the world. We’ll start our jaunt in Mainz before heading north to the town of Wolfsburg.
Mainz is located in southwestern Germany and is the capital of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The Romans founded Mainz as a military post in the late 1st century BC because of its strategic location on the Rhine River, and it has changed hands many times since. More than eighty percent of Mainz was destroyed in World War II, but today the town houses such sites as the Roman-Germanic Central Museum and the Museum of Ancient Seafaring.
Another site may one day be added to the Mainz landscape. ZDF, the German television giant, worked with JRA to develop concept for the proposed park, the first phase of which was planned to include an enclosed facility offering real and simulated experiences based on a variety of ZDF television programs. Actual television broadcasts would be combined with theme park-style attractions to create a dense, immersive and diverse experience for all visitors.
Traversing 186 miles (300 km) north, we arrive in Wolfsburg. Located in Lower Saxony on the banks of the River Aller, it is best known as the world headquarters of Volkswagen AG and the home of Volkswagen’s Autostadt.
Autostadt is a one-of-a-kind, 40+ acre corporate visitor center. This ambitious attraction celebrates Volkswagen’s brands, its fascinating history and its impact on world culture – from the “People’s Car” to the “Love Bug” to the automobility of the future. The Autostadt development features an exposition-style corporate forum, an auto museum, showrooms, pavilions for each of the company’s many brands (including Audi, Bentley, Lamborgini, Seat and Skoda), an elaborate auto delivery center, several theaters, restaurants, shopping, a Ritz-Carlton hotel and other anchor attractions.
Jack Rouse Associates was commissioned by the Volkswagen Group to provide the overall planning and design for many of the major attractions at this highly acclaimed facility. JRA’s specific responsibilities included master planning, exhibit design and project management within the development’s KonzernForum, KundenCenter and ZeitHaus. JRA also provided executive media production of several specialty film attractions, including an 8/70 large-format film, a 360-degree theater, a motion-simulator attraction and a fractured-image multimedia walkthrough. Since its opening in 2000, Autostadt has attracted nearly 2 million visitors annually.
Hard to believe, but we only have one journey left! Join us next time, when we cap off our globetrotting escapades with a visit to jolly ol’ England. Until then, remember: whether it’s on another continent or just outside your door, it’s never to late to start an adventure. Auf Wiedersehen!
Tags: JRA Journeys
July 21, 2011
JRA Project Manager Phil Hartley and the Kingsmen Exhibits PTE team installing the Coca-Cola Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
16 Stages of Project Development
Stages 12 & 13 – Production, Fabrication, Installation and Testing
I hope you are enjoying our new website. As promised, today we’ll be continuing our 16 Stages of Project Development. But before we begin, let’s take a look at what we’ve done so far:
Phase 1: The Dreaming Period
Stage 0 – What is “it”?
Stage 1 – Zoning: will the community let you build it?
Stage 2 – Government Approvals: will the local authorities let you build it?
Stage 3 – Environmental Impact: what will it do to the surrounding area?
Stage 4 – Financing: can you pay for it?
Stage 5 – Feasibility Analysis: if you build it, will they come?
Phase 2: The Designing Period
Stage 6 – Master Planning and Programming: developing your scope and setting your criteria for success
Stage 7 – Preliminary Concept Design: developing your preliminary concept designs and addressing economic and operational guidelines
Stage 8 – Final Concept Design: completing your master plan
Stage 9 – Schematic Design: defining component elements and preparing cost estimates
Stage 10 – Detail Design: describing the project in fullest detail
Stage 11 – Production and Fabrication Documents: developing construction bid documents, tendering to sub-contractors and negotiating contracts
We now move into Phase 3: The Doing Period, which begins with Stage 12 – Production and Fabrication. In this stage, coordination is critical between JRA’s design and project team, the fabricators, the general contractor, and the specialty subcontractors (audio-visual hardware, rides, media and lighting). Close adherence must be paid to the schedule and the budget so that neither deviates from its intended target.
Depending on the scale of the project, prototyping is likely to occur at this stage. These prototypes can range from small-scale models to full-scale mock-ups of critical and/or complicated components. For children’s museums, interactives are often “kid-tested” to make sure they properly engage the project’s little visitors. For theme park projects, rides undergo vigorous testing and approvals by various engineering authorities. Once the prototypes are approved by JRA and you, the exhibits, rides and/or attractions then move to fabrication.
Media production also takes place during this stage, beginning with appointment of the producer and proceeding through storyboarding, pre-vis, production and post-production. We’ll cover this process in greater detail in a future JRA blog.
The fabrication, AV, ride, lighting and media components are usually constructed off-site, so they will need to be shipped to the project location. Depending on where your project is located, it could take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to ship the items and clear them through customs. Before they can be installed into your facility (Stage 13), the bulk of the building works (structural, mechanical and electrical) must be complete. At the very least, the site will need to be climate and humidity controlled, dust-free and have clean power (i.e., a continuous power stream isolated from the building’s power supply) so that electrical equipment can properly function. JRA’s project manager will provide on-site supervision during the installation, testing and commissioning processes, and JRA’s art director will ensure that the design integrity is maintained through fabrication, installation and opening.
So, your various components have been fabricated, shipped, cleared through customs and installed in your exhibit-ready building. Congratulations! You have now completed the Doing Period. Now begins Phase 4: The Done Period(!), where JRA and the various producers introduce your operational staff to the project. Once your staff is ready, you’ll conduct a soft opening to work out the kinks before unveiling your finished museum or attraction to the public (and the media). We’ll cover the Done Period – and the final three project stages – next Thursday. Until then, be sure to answer our Facebook “Question of the Week?” and enjoy Tuesday’s JRA Journeys segment, when we visit JRA's various ventures in Europe.
Tags: Blog N Learn
July 18, 2011
Wiggling ears, running and olives? It must be time for another Meet the Team segment, and this time, we're asking five questions of JRA co-op, Grania Frueh.
I beat a creative block by...Listening to music and browsing thedieline.com.
My favorite part of the design process is...Brainstorming new ideas.
My hidden talent is...I can wiggle my ears.
Best stress buster... Running, it works miracles.
What ís your favorite food? Olives, any kind-I like them all.
Thursday, we'll re-visit our long-running blog series, The 16 Stages of Project Development. We'll tackle stages 12 & 13, which will take us through prototyping, fabrication, installation, and testing.
July 15, 2011
On behalf of the entire JRA team, I'd like to welcome you to the NEW JackRouse.com. Here you will find a portfolio of JRA's enterainment, museum, sport and brand projects, as well as information on the people and processes that can help make your project a reality.
In addition to our blog, which will be updated (at least) weekly, please be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages. Next week, we're beginning a Facebook "Question of the Week." We want you, our loyal readers, to tell us what kinds of museum and attraction experiences you enjoy, and what you'd like to see for the future of the industry.
In the meantime, enjoy the new site and blog, and please give us your comments!
Clara J. Rice
Editor, JRA + blog
July 07, 2011
Event Design Magazine has just announced its 2011 Event Design Award Winners, and Jack Rouse Associates is ecstatic to have been awarded top honors. JRA, along with British architectural firm Benoy, received the Gold Winner designation for Best Permanent Exhibition for Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Opened this past November, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the world's largest indoor theme park and immerses guests with the passion, performance and culture of the legendary Ferrari brand.
"We are thrilled to receive this award from Event Design," said Keith James, JRA Chief Executive Officer/Owner. "So many hands touched the Ferrari World project, and we share this with all who have been involved in its success."
Other award recipients included Ralph Appelbaum Associates for the Royal Court of Bahrain's National Charter Monument, Heartland Scenic Studios for the American Museum of Natural History's "Brain: The Inside Story" and Thinkwell for the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.
A complete list of winners can be found here. Congratulations to all!
Tags: Project Spotlight