February 05, 2014
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)
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)
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)
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!
January 29, 2014
In case you missed it in the holiday hoopla, and as originally reported by InPark Magazine, AECOM recently released its 2013 China Theme Park Pipeline Report. AECOM gathered the data for the report via an October 2013 internet and telephone research survey of recently announced Chinese theme and water parks.
According to the report, Asia as a whole continues to show robust growth in the theme park realm. Attendance at the Top 20 Asian theme parks soared 5.8% in 2012 to a record of 108.7 million visits. The report identifies China as the main contributor to this accomplishment, opening 12 new theme parks and 1 new water park in 2012. These 13 parks represented 21.36 billion RMB (~$3.5 billion) in total investment and created capacity for 27.8 million additional visitors.
China currently has 59 new theme parks in various stages of development, most of them concentrated in the country’s northeast and southeast regions. The types of theme parks range from indoor to environmentally themed to cultural, animal, adventure or movie-based. These impressive numbers are only a harbinger of things to come: AECOM expects the Chinese theme park market to have doubled in size from 2010-2015, and to nearly double again from 2015-2020. Within the next six years, attendance figures for Chinese theme parks will surpass those of the United States today.
AECOM’s report identified four new trends in Chinese theme park development:
1. A broad distribution of attractions
2. The expansion of major local operators in an increasingly brand-centric entertainment environment
3. The increased use (or creation) of cartoon-based IP to attract visitors, particularly in retail outlets
4. Significant re-investment in existing leisure facilities
Future trends include an increase in mixed retail/entertainment/residential properties; a variety of visitor participation levels in the parks (i.e., active versus passive), a proliferation of indoor parks (from shopping mall FECs to full-scale attractions) and an increased number of both indoor and outdoor water parks. Chinese developers are currently investing $23.8 billion (US) in theme and water park projects, and they are projected to welcome 166.3 million visitors to their parks as a result of their investments.
So, what has contributed to this explosive growth in Chinese theme park development? According to AECOM, the Central Government recently transferred the majority of development approvals to the Provincial governments, removing layers of red tape for all parks with investment levels of less than RM5 billion (~$826 million). In addition, a burgeoning middle class means there are more families with the disposable income to visit a theme park. Finally, a growing interest in cultural attractions is inspiring increases in both domestic and foreign tourism.
“We’ve been working in China for the past 20 years and have witnessed China’s enthusiasm for museums and themed attractions,” said Keith James, JRA CEO, in reaction to the report. “China’s commitment to creating large scale leisure developments will have impact on our company and on the industry as a whole.”
While the fluctuations and cycles of the global economy make nothing certain, it appears that, through a conscious effort to create a diverse slate (geographically and thematically) of entertainment and cultural assets, China is poised to become a major player in the leisure industry in the next decade.
January 08, 2014
Crayola Experience - Easton, Pennsylvania, USA
As we clear out the holiday clutter from our email inboxes and plunge headlong into 2014, we thought we’d take a minute to say thank you to a year that brought some great successes for JRA:
2013 also featured (by the numbers):
…and a renewed optimism about the continuing growth of the leisure industry and cultural community.
We look forward to sharing more of JRA’s people, projects and personalities this year. Stay tuned for another upcoming project announcement in the coming days, and thanks for reading!
Alina and Anika Kemper, twin daughters of Bjorn and Felicia Kemper, wish you a Happy New Year!
December 26, 2013
Recently, the 65-member Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra rang in The Mind Museum's holiday season with a surprise treat for all museum guests. The brass group played their instruments through the 5 galleries, even up the stairs to meet Stan the T.Rex, before joining the rest of the symphony at the Canopy Plaza for a concert ranging from classical pieces to Filipino medleys to Christmas songs. It was truly an extraordinary musical performance to the delight of many kids and adults, offering a fitting reminder of the spirit of the season and bringing needed cheer to an area still reeling from Typhoon Hainan.
Tags: JRA Journeys
December 13, 2013
JRA VP of Marketing and Business Development, Shawn McCoy
To wrap up our 2013 IAAPA Expo Wrap Up, we're happy to share Shawn McCoy's Museum Day Presentation on New Attractions and Trends. Through his entertaining and informative presentation, Shawn takes viewers on a whirlwind, round-the world tour of the latest and greatest attractions, and offers some lessons on what the museum community can learn from them. Enjoy!
Next week, we hand over the blogging reins to Designer Colin Cronin, who will continue our view of trends by updating us new video game technologies and how they are currently being used in attractions and museums.