Going for the Gold: Creating Attractions in the World's Olympic Cities

February 05, 2014

Photo courtesy www.publicdomainpictures.net

Photo courtesy www.publicdomainpictures.net

Starting today, hundreds of thousands of athletes, spectators and journalists will descend upon Sochi, a city of over 340,000 people located on Russia's Black Sea coast. In honor of the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, we’re taking you on a tour of the Olympic cities we’ve been honored to work in, spiriting you across the globe and offering a few fun facts along the way. We’ll begin our journey with this year’s host.

Olympic Year:
2014 (Winter)
Location: Russia
Olympic Fun Fact: Six new events will debut at this Olympics: Men’s Ski Halfpipe, Women’s Ski Halfpipe, Women’s Ski Jumping, Biathlon Mixed Relay, Team Figure Skating, and Luge Team Relay.
Project: Sochi Park

Set to open in early 2014, Sochi Park will combine state-of-the-art technology with Russian art, history and folklore. JRA developed a 53-hectare park concept with detailed sketches and designs for the several theme zones. In 2014, Sochi Park will open its first stage, with a 20.3-hectare park that will offer a wide range of attractions reflecting milestones in the nation's history as well as thematic areas and shows inspired by fairy tales and sagas.

The first 12 attractions planned for the park are divided into five thematic areas, including “Avenue of Fire” with a lake and various restaurants and souvenir shops, “Land of Bogatyr” where Russian heroes lives, “The Enchanted Forest” which features fairies from Russian folklore, the nature-inspired “ECO-Village” and the interactive “Land of Science and Fiction.” Several new attractions will be added in future phases.

JRA provided overall master planning, concept design and schematic design for the highly anticipated park, and is currently providing art direction and implementation consulting. This is the first time JRA has worked on a project in a Winter Olympic city.

Now that we’ve shown you the present, let’s revisit some cities of Olympics past that also play host to a JRA-designed attraction.

Olympic Year: 1904 (Summer)
Location: United States
Fun Fact: Originally slated for Chicago, the 1904 Summer Olympics were moved to St. Louis to coincide with the World’s Fair.
Project: The original Mr. Freeze™ Rollercoaster at Six Flags St. Louis
JRA has worked with the Six Flags theme parks on a variety of projects over the years, including several Gotham areas, for which JRA was responsible for the concept and detail design. For the popular Mr. Freeze attractions at both Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis, JRA designed and themed interiors and exteriors for the queue of this 70-mph rollercoaster, themed around the hit Warner Bros. movie “Batman & Robin.”

JRA is currently working on a new attraction to be housed within St. Louis’ historic Union Station. More details will be available soon about this exciting project, set to open this Spring.

Olympic Years: 1908, 1948, 2012 (All Summer)
Location: United Kingdom
Fun Facts: The 1908 Olympics were supposed to take place in Rome; however, the games had to be moved due to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. London has hosted more Olympic Games than any other city.
Project: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London
London’s Piccadilly Circus welcomed an exciting new attraction in 2008, as the JRA-designed Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum opened within the iconic London Pavilion entertainment complex. Spread over five levels, the museum occupies approximately 25,000 square feet of the Pavilion, and has become one of London’s major tourist destinations.

Olympic Year: 1956 (Summer)
Country: Australia
Fun Fact: The equestrian events for these Olympics were held in Stockholm, Sweden. Sweden was considered a co-host for the Games and had its own torch and mini-Opening Ceremony.
Project: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
JRA worked with the MCG’s project development team to define the overall concept and aesthetic direction for the renovation of the historic stadium’s three major grandstands. JRA’s specific areas of focus included initial concept development for a variety of entertainment components, sponsorship zones, interactive experiences, retail and food court areas. JRA also provided conceptual design direction for the stadium’s entire redevelopment to ensure consistent thematic treatments, efficient guest flow patterns, optimal revenue generation and an overall integrated guest experience.

Olympic Year: 1996 (Summer)
Country: United States
Fun Facts: For the first time in Olympic history, all 197 recognized National Olympic Committees were represented at the Olympic Games.
Project: The (NEW) World of Coca-Cola
Opened in May of 2007, the NEW World of Coca-Cola is the only place where visitors can explore the complete story—past, present and future—of the world's best-known brand. JRA is proud to have worked with The Coca-Cola Company to design and produce the guest experience for this re-envisioned Atlanta attraction.

With 62,000 square feet of guest areas, the NEW World of Coca-Cola has something for everyone, including a variety of interactive exhibits, a thrilling 4-D Theater, the world's largest collection of Coke memorabilia, a fully functioning bottling line that produces commemorative 8-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola®, a Pop Culture Gallery featuring works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Steve Penley, and a unique tasting experience allowing guests the opportunity to sample up to 70 different products from around the world.

JRA provided the overall creative direction for the project, including planning, design and coordination of a team of vendors that included world-class animators, film makers and exhibit builders.

Olympic Year: 2008 (Summer)
Country: China
Fun Fact: Before the Games began, over 400 million Chinese youth took lessons about the Olympics in more than 500,000 schools around China.
Project: Magic Bean House
With colorful environments themed around classic fairytales and Chinese proverbs, Magic Bean House, which opened in 2010, features a number of exhibit areas specifically designed to engage and educate young children up to eight years old.
Specific experiences and environments within the facility include a themed climbing structure, a water play table, an interactive science gallery and a creative arts area, along with a variety of role play opportunities such as a miniature grocery store, construction site and mechanic’s shop.

JRA provided master planning, concept design and schematic design for Magic Bean House. Final design, fabrication and implementation was provided by Kingsmen.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our global adventure, and we look forward to working in more Olympic cities in the future. Whatever country you’re rooting for this February, best of luck!



Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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