The ABCs of Design and Project Management, Part 2

September 29, 2011

Sometimes architectural acronyms can seem like alphabet soup.  We're here to help!

Sometimes architectural acronyms can seem like alphabet soup. We're here to help!

The ABCs of Design and Project Management, Part 2
Architectural Acronyms

Welcome back to our mini-series, The ABCs of Design and Project Management. Today we’ll decipher the architectural acronyms that can leave a client (and even designers and project managers) a little perplexed.

Most of the acronyms we’ll be discussing today involve the General Contractor (GC). Just as a fabricator realizes the exhibit design, the GC realizes the architectural design for the building. S/he is responsible for all of the work required to prepare the project site and construct the project facilities, including the mechanical infrastructure. In other words, the GC, with his/her engineering and construction teams, makes sure your structural walls are in, your floors are down, your building is dust-free and has clean power, and your MEP is in place so that you can install your exhibits, rides, lighting and audio-visual equipment.

MEP stands for mechanical, electrical and plumbing. This would include your HVAC, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning. We have mentioned this in our previous posts, but it bears repeating: your MEP and your attractions/exhibitry must be closely coordinated. If you have an air vent located behind a piece of fabricated rockwork, you are going to have problems. If you haven’t calculated the heat and power loads for a project and how they compare with the existing facility loads, you may go to plug in your interactive only to find a spark, smoke and damaged equipment. Here at JRA, we keep in daily contact with your project architect and GC to make sure such potential issues are identified and corrected early.

Our last acronym for today is FF&E, which means furniture, fixtures and equipment. These items typically outfit the interior of a building, and the information relating to FF&E is usually supplied as a part of the interior or architectural design. Examples of FF&E include everything from kitchen appliances in a theme park restaurant to decorative plants in a museum lobby. At the outset of each project, JRA and the Architect/GC put together a differentiation document, outlining each company’s scope as regards FF&E and other building-related items.

So there you have it – the ABCs of construction and installation. Next week, we’ll take a look at your budget to determine if your ROM could use a little VE

Thanks for reading! Is there an aspect of museum and attraction design/project management that leaves you puzzled? Let us know here or on our Facebook page, and you could see your question in a future Blog N’ Learn segment!

 

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Outside the Studio: Can't Stop the (Cincy) Rock

September 27, 2011

Carole Walker performs a free concert on the Midpoint Music Festival Midway.

Carole Walker performs a free concert on the Midpoint Music Festival Midway.

The last weekend in September can only mean one thing in Cincinnati – it’s time to rock! And this year, the party was bigger and better than ever as Midpoint Music Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Founded by Cincy musicians Bill Donabedian and Sean Rhiney, and now produced by local media outlet CityBeat, Midpoint Music Festival (MPMF) attendance has grown from 13,500 to 20,000 in just the past three years. To celebrate “10 Years of Audio Addiction,” the 2011 festival featured over 180 bands in 18 venues over 3 days. Introduced this year was Midpoint Midway, a pedestrian-only carnival featuring decorated box trucks (including one featuring a giant Connect Four board and maze game!), free performances and food vendors.

Amusements on the Midpoint Midway

The MPMFs of previous years have served as springboards for bands now featured in such music publications as Spin, Filter, and Rolling Stone. Musical highlights of this year’s fest included the UK indie rockers Joy Formidable, Australian electro-pop group Cut Copy, the reunion of Alabama surf rockers Man or Astroman?, and legendary San Francisco blues guitarist, Booker T. Jones.

Last row view of Australian rockers, Cut Copy.  Click on the band links above to see concert footage from MPMF.

“I would say that the best part about playing MPMF has been its ability to get us in front of an audience who we might not have been able to get in front of otherwise,” says Dylan Speeg, lead singer of local band and perennial festival favorite, Buckra. “Meeting other bands from other places and seeing what they are up to is really helpful as well. It's a great place to try out new material and see old friends.”

The boys of Buckra perform a late night jam to a packed house.

Having cultural, creative outlets like MPMF is one of the many reasons we’re glad to work in Cincinnati.  Considering that most venues played to over-capacity crowds last weekend, it appears that Midpoint Music Festival will be feeding audiences fresh ear candy for many years to come.
 

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Blog N' Learn: The ABCs of Design and Project Management - The Three R's

September 22, 2011

Welcome back to Blog N’ Learn, the series that helps define some of the more commonly used (and often misinterpreted) terms in the museum and attraction design industry. In the next four series of posts, we’re learning the ABCs of Design and Project Management by decoding some often-applied acronyms. Let’s start by exploring the three R’s of the bidding process.

As you’ve read in our 16 Stages segment (If you have, thanks!  If you haven’t, check out the archives!), after schematic or detail design, JRA’s project management team will perform a bid solicitation. A bid solicitation is the effort to find and qualify vendors, suppliers and consultants for the fabrication, production, installation and testing of the designed elements of your project. The first stage in the bid process is the Request for Qualifications (RFQ).

The RFQ is a document sent by JRA to a prospective fabricator, ride manufacturer or media producer. It is a request involving only company information and is generally non-project-specific. Requests in the RFQ may include:

  • • Firm history
  • • Resumes of key personnel
  • • Square footage of a fabricator’s workshop facilities and a list of specialized equipment
  • • Relevant experience (i.e. museum vs. theme park work, experience with projects of a certain size and/or in a certain region)
  • • What percentage of their projects they typically sub-contract (firms that sub-contract a large portion of their work tend to have higher costs)
  • • References
  • • Financial statements

This information establishes the firm’s suitability for a given scope of work. Along with an RFQ, JRA will send the bidder a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). This agreement stipulates that whatever specifics they learn about your project in the bidding process, they are not to share them externally. Violating an NDA can lead to severe financial penalties.

After receiving the information from the RFQ, JRA will assess the firms and, upon client request, visit the various vendors’ workshops. Once this process is complete, JRA will nominate to you a short list of bidders to receive a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP details the scope of work, explains the criteria used to award the contract and specifies the form of response. JRA’s fabrication RFP packages usually include:

  • • 100% Schematic or detail design package (level of detail depends on the project)
  • • Architectural/Mechanical/Electrical package
  • • Materials/Color package
  • • Graphics package
  • • Lighting/Audio-visual package
  • • Written briefs and storylines
  • • Exhibit matrix (detailed list of attraction components with quantities and descriptions)
  • • Differentiation document (matrix delineating scope of fabricator vs. architect vs. client)
  • • Sample contract (if applicable)

Ride RFP packages may include engineering specifications and desired capacities. Media production RFP packages may include any storyboards, attraction briefs or scripts (we’ll differentiate between these various written documents in a future segment). The bidder is expected to respond with a cost quotation as well as their methodology for performing the work, which could include quality assurance/control measures, material specifications (where not specified by JRA), cost control and procurement strategies and a sub-contracting plan.

In some cases, the bidders receiving an RFP will come to JRA’s offices for a bid meeting. At this meeting, JRA’s design and project management staff will explain the various RFP components as well as the overall design intent and delivery systems for the project. During the subsequent bid period, when the vendors are working on their proposals, additional questions are sent via a Request for Information (RFI). An RFI is a formal request for bid clarification. To ensure a fair bid process, both the question and JRA’s response are sent to all bidders.

Once JRA has received the bids, we will review them based on technical/creative considerations, specified work process and price. We will then recommend a vendor to you, and you will negotiate the final contract. Then let the building, engineering and/or filming begin!

So, now you know the three R’s of bid solicitation, but do you glaze over when told that you need to send the MEP CAD drawings to your GC? Don’t know your HVAC from your FF&E? We’ll decipher the various architectural and engineering acronyms in our next ABCs of Design segment. Thanks for reading!
 

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Hi, Quincy - thanks for your question! The best way to make an introduction to the JRA Project Management team would be to send a email of introduction and a PDF brochure and/or images of recent work to Chloe James, Executive Assistant, at cjames@jackrouse.com. Every week, she forwards these emails and information to the entire design and production team. Have a great day! - Clara from JRA
Clara 11:10AM 09/28/11
What is the best way for a firm interested in becoming a vendor to make the initial introduction to the JRA Project Management Team?
Quincy Morris 10:48AM 09/28/11

Outside the Studio - Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2011

September 20, 2011

Wilkommen to Outside the Studio, a blog series where we feature great things happening in our hometown and beyond.

Here's a recipe for fun: start with a large population of German descendants and some rowdy visitors, add a dash of sauerkraut and a splash of beer, sprinkle in some oompah music, and you end up with one fabulous fest - Oktoberfest Zinzinnati!

Welcoming 500,000 visitors annually on the third weekend of September, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is North America's largest Oktoberfest and has been welcoming Germanophiles since 1976.  In fact, the Mayor of Munich annually declares Oktoberfest Zinzinnati the largest Oktoberfest outside his borders.  Why Oktoberfest in September?  Find out here.

Preceding the fest, Cincinnati's Fountain Square hosts several "pre-game" events, the most popular being the Racing of the Wieners.  Pint-sized pooches dressed in their hot dog best make a sprint for the finish, where their owners (and some bacon-flavored rewards) await.  This year's MC for the Races?  None other than Cheers alum, George Wendt ("Norm!").

Oktoberfest officially begins with the Opening Ceremony and Ceremonial Keg Tapping.  German-Americans in traditional vestments strut their stuff down Fifth Street, and a series of keg tappings signifies the openings of the various bier purveyors.  After that, there's dancing, accordions and plenty of Gutes Essen (good food).  The festival serves over 80,000 bratwurst, 64,000 sauerkraut balls, 23,000 soft pretzels and 20,000 cream puffs annually, not to mention gallons of goetta.  What's goetta, you ask? 

The fest culminates in the World's Largest Chicken Dance. The Chicken Dance has been a fixture at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati since 1994, when it was led by the Crown Prince of Bavaria.  It broke the Guiness World Record for World's Largest Chicken Dance that year and several years since.  Previous dance captains have included Weird Al Yankovic, Vince Neil and Homer Simpson, and this year's dance was helmed by legendary Reds baseball player, Joe Morgan.  Of course, to do the chicken dance, you'll need a chicken hat!

Oktoberfest is one of the many gems in the Queen City's crown.  While honoring our past, it also pays a nod a spirit of fun and creativity that we strive to bring to JRA everyday.

We hope you've enjoyed this trip outside the studio.  Thursday, we're back deciphering the ABCs of museum and attraction design, but join us next Tuesday to see how Cincinnati has kept September rockin' for the last ten years.  Thanks for reading - Prost!

 

 

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Blog N' Learn: The Drawing Conclusions Finale

September 15, 2011

As-Built Drawing

As-Built Drawing

Drawing Conclusions, Part 5
As-Built to Last

For the final segment of our Drawing Conclusions series, we’ll introduce you to the drawings that, while not provided by JRA, are still very important to your project.

The first drawings we’ll cover are as-builts. As-builts are detailed, measured and (hopefully) accurate drawings of either the facility as it currently stands (if a renovation) or the building as it will be executed (for new construction). These drawings are provided either by the client or by the client’s architect or general contractor. JRA’s exhibit or attraction drawings will be laid on top of these as-builts to ensure they align within the space (i.e., not obstructing entrances/exits or crunched on top of each other). Structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting, and audio visual equipment drawings also use these as-builts as their base, so it is essential that they be accurate to the millimeter.

While the architect provides drawings to determine how the building(s) should be built, JRA’s selected fabricator provides shop drawings to determine exactly how to build each museum or attraction element. This process involves taking JRA’s detail design drawings and breaking them down even further to illustrate exactly how a piece should be constructed. Accompanying the shop drawings are construction documents, which identify the construction materials, hardware and special constructions.

The thousands of drawings outlined in this series comprise the blueprint for your project. If done properly, they will ensure that your museum or attraction ends up exactly as you dreamed.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this Drawing Conclusions series. For our next series of Blog n’ Learns, we’ll learn the ABCs of various design and construction acronyms. Thanks for reading!
 

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Hi, Shelby, thanks for reading! The as-builts are provided by the client or client-appointed architect. Occasionally we will survey the space with an architect, but since we are not an architecture firm, we leave any drawings related to the overall building to the experts! In answer to your second question, we currently use Adobe Illustrator with CAD tools. Have a great weekend! - Clara from JRA
Clara 8:44AM 09/16/11
This is great! Are the as-builts always provided by the client or does JRA have to occasionally survey the space? Also, I was wondering what program JRA uses for drafting? Do they use SketchUp in any of the design process?
Shelby Treichler 3:40PM 09/15/11

Project Spotlight Throwback Edition: Texas Wild! at the Fort Worth Zoo

September 13, 2011

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Texas Wild! at the Fort Worth Zoo

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Howdy, y'all!  For today's project spotlight throwback, we're takin' it to Texas to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the successful Texas Wild! exhibit at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Jack Rouse Associates worked directly with the Fort Worth Zoo's team in the development of Texas Wild!, an eight-acre expansion highlighting the abundant, unique and varied wildlife of Texas. The goal was to create experiences that not only educate and entertain guests, but also instill a sense of responsibility and pride for their role in the future of their environment.

Texas Wild!’s exhibitry focuses on the tremendous diversity in both the flora and fauna of this unique state while highlighting the positive role man can play in both the environment and its wildlife. Displays highlight indigenous wildlife species in scenarios that emphasize the powerful dynamics of nature, of which man is an integral part. A strong message concerning man’s stewardship responsibility is also conveyed through a variety of educational and entertaining experiences.

Texas Wild! is subdivided into three zones. The first zone, a tranquil and transitional area, includes elements such as a train ride, water features and a western-style carousel. The second zone, Texas Town, includes a petting zoo, play barn, the town jail and the Texas Town Hall. The Town Hall building features a weather-effects theater and a variety of exhibits which focus on ranching, hunting, the plants and animals of Texas and man as steward of the land. The last zone includes five different ecological regions of Texas: Short Grass Prairie, Pineywoods, Coastal Marsh, Brush Country and Mountains and Desert. Over 80 animals indigenous to these five areas are represented in appropriately themed environments.

Jack Rouse Associates’ services included concept development through production of all the area’s interpretive elements, interactive exhibits and graphics. Texas Wild opened to the public in 2001 and is still going strong 10 years later.

Yee haw!  Thanks for saddlin' up to this Project Spotlight segment.  Thursday, we'll finish up our Drawing Conclusions series, and next Tuesday we'll explore the sillier side of Cincinnati's German heritage. 

 

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Blog N' Learn: Drawing Conclusions, Part 4

September 08, 2011

Drawing Conclusions, Part 4
Elevating Your Design

Welcome to Part 4 of Drawing Conclusions. So far, we’ve differentiated between sketches and renderings, gotten some perspective on and a birds-eye view of your attraction or museum, and bubbled, flowed, planned and reflected your space through various drawings. Today, we’ll explain the intricacies of elevations and sections.

An elevation is a scaled or measured drawing offering a front or side view of the interior or exterior of a structure. The scaled aspect differentiates it from a rendering or sketch. In schematic design, elevations show the size, function and basic appearance of an attraction or exhibit and the various components within it. In detail design, “zoomed in” elevations are produced, giving greater focus to the size, shape, components and functionality of a specific exhibit or attraction element.

Conversely, sections are scaled drawings that offer a cut-away, side view of a structure. Imagine that the structure you are looking at has been sliced through like a pie. You can now see the inner workings of the pie and how far this slice of pie extends into the surrounding space.

So there you have it – now you’ll be identifying drawings like a pro! For the last of this series, we’ll cover the various drawings that are provided by contractors other than JRA – construction documents, shop drawings and as-builts.
 

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Meet the Team: Linda Round

September 06, 2011

Linda Round

Linda Round

For today's Meet the Team post, we're introducing you to Marketing and Business Development Specialist, Linda Round.

Linda Round joined the JRA team in early 2008, bringing with her over 17 years of experience in the attractions industry, where she was primarily responsible for the international marketing and sales efforts of two major ride manufacturers. During this time, the firms she represented introduced several world record-breaking rollercoasters and prototypical rides, requiring trusting relationships with each client throughout their development. Prior to her work in the rides industry, Linda gained invaluable experience in both operations and marketing during her employment tenures at both Kings Island and The Beach Waterpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Linda’s relevant industry experience, global knowledge of the attractions industry and her understanding of business from both an operational and supplier perspective, serve her well in developing and maintaining healthy relationships with JRA’s clients. Her own personal values relative to how clients should be regarded also coincide with JRA’s philosophical approach to business.

Linda has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University. Linda is also an active volunteer and has chaired one of Cincinnati’s larger community festivals for the last seven years.

Thanks, Linda!  Thursday, we'll round out our Drawing Conclusions mini-series with a look at drawing elevations and sections.  Enjoy!

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Blog N' Learn: Drawing Conclusions, Part 3

September 01, 2011

Drawing Conclusions, Part 3
Bubble, Flow, Plan and Reflect

Welcome to Part 3 of Drawing Conclusions, a Blog N’ Learn miniseries where we break down the various drawings we use to design your project. Today we’ll discuss the various diagrams and drawings around planning.

First, let’s start with the bubble diagram. This is the most rudimentary and loose planning tool and is usually drawn during the preliminary concept phase of your project. Its main goal is not to map out spaces exactly – we’ll do that later – but to get a sense of how the different galleries or theme areas will differentiate themselves and interrelate with each other. The primary physical elements are not scaled, but are represented by simple bubbles or circles.

 

Once the bubble diagram is laid out, the design team begins to consider how the guests will move (or flow) through the space. These flow or circulation diagrams use a series of arrows to map out a course for the visitor. Some museums or attractions have a prescribed flow (such as a chronological flow), some have various flow options, and some are completely free-flowing. While flow diagrams are first plotted out on top of the conceptual bubble diagram, they will be used throughout all of the phases of design as the exhibits or attractions take shape.

 

In the Final Concept Phase, JRA will develop a master plan for the entire site. This plan will incorporate all exhibits and attractions and will take into account land (or exhibit) area and defined spatial relationships. Throughout the subsequent Schematic and Detail Design Phases, JRA will develop plan drawings for individual exhibit or theme areas.

The final planning document we’ll cover today is called a reflected ceiling plan, which is typically drawn during the Schematic and Detail Design Phases. Imagine that you are in a museum and somehow managed to have your back stuck to the ceiling, so you’re looking down on an exhibit area – this is your plan view. Now imagine you’ve detached yourself from the ceiling, and the experience has left you exhausted, so you need to lie down on the floor. When you look up, you see banners, painted scrims and projection surfaces. This is your reflected ceiling plan view, which maps out all of your ceiling treatments. The reflected ceiling plan (or RCP) is carefully coordinated with the lighting and audio-visual hardware plans so that the various hanging items don’t conflict with one another. Wouldn’t want your drywall drop ceiling blocking the audio coming from your speakers!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to the various planning documents that will be used throughout your project. In our next Drawing Conclusions segment, we’ll cover the other drawings used in Schematic and Detail Design – elevations and sections.
 

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