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Designing buildings for a land

How we design buildings for a land. Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

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Video transcript

Welcome back! You should now have a layout for a land of your own design. Now let's talk about the design of the buildings you might find in a land. These buildings might contain rides and other attractions, restaurants, stores, and so on. The architecture of these buildings, like everything else, should reflect the theme and story of the land. The architecture can also provide a backstory about the land, the people who live there, and the history they've experienced. The design of buildings are also used to engage guests emotionally. A building with big strong columns, say like a government building, might be meant to feel safe and stable. And a building that has lots of sharp or pointy features may feel dangerous. At the same time, the architecture needs to be functional, stable and buildable. For example, a themed restaurant needs to have seating for guests as well as a working kitchen. A themed store must have space for merchandise as well as a stockroom, and in all of these cases large numbers of people must be able to comfortably move through the building. As we're about to hear, architecture, as practiced at Imagineering, can be somewhat unique. One of the ways that architecture and Imagineering is different from the outside world is that we're experienced designers. More than anything, more than the brick and the mortar and how the building going to stand, we think about the experience of the guests inside the space. Now when you study traditional architecture as it is taught in architectural school, the final shape of a building is really a byproduct of a bunch of functional and economic necessities that push on it. In our environment, we very well may start by saying this building absolutely must look exactly like this image from a pre-existing film. So whatever function this building has, has to fit inside this image. So we are using architecture to hold up a theatrical image. We started the design of Treasure Cove, the place Treasure Cove, by visiting several different locations in the Caribbean because we wanted it to be authentic in and rooted in that place. We took all those different architectural styles and brought them all together to create an imaginary place. Then you start to stylize all those buildings, which means they're not perfectly straight, which means the architects involved and the engineers involved after have a certain sensibility about what you're trying to do. In Cars Land, the theme of the film Cars brought us to small-town America across route 66. We actually took a 12-day trip across Route 66 we made it a point to get off of the interstate and drive the old road. We would walk up to those buildings and take really close pictures of all of it. Every single window, every single mullion, every single brick, every graphic was faithfully put into the real deal of Cars Land of Radiator Springs. We recreated that exact place to make it the Guest experience absolutely believable. To summarize, all Architects do design, but Imagineers do design in the context of story and character. Imagineers also use a few theatrical techniques in our architecture. For instance, on Main Street USA in Disneyland, we use a technique called forced perspective to make the street more comforting and human-scale. We do this by making the second stories of the buildings slightly smaller than they would normally be. And the third stories are even smaller. It's a detail you might not notice directly but you can feel the difference when you're standing on Main Street, but just like traditional architecture our buildings also have to be functional, safe and last a long time. That's why there are multiple types of Architects at Imagineering. Concept architects deal with anything guest facing. We make sure that the creative intent and the story is fully realized in the environment around you. Project architects are those who are really passionate about how buildings put together, you know they care about code they care they do all the coordination with between our 140 plus disciplines. They make sure that the building stands up and passes the test of time. In a theme park, these aren't just sets these are real buildings, these are restaurants, they're ride buildings and these buildings have a lot of steel and engineering and they have to last for you know a century. So, all of the engineering and design of these buildings, and the steel and all the systems that support the show is a very complex effort. It involves hundreds of people in the architectural trades. In the land of Pandora, is a gigantic 100 foot tall, 200 feet on a side, bigger than an acre, giant steel box. Inside of which is the ride that you take Flight of Passage. You have no idea that that box is there, it is completely hidden and disguised under a set of rocky cliffs, and crags, and floating mountains, and gardens, and waterfalls, and that is very very different from the way a trained architect would think about building anything. And when it's a ride facility, it's very complex because you are also trying to integrate a tremendous amount of technology. And in the case of Treasure Cove, it's a water ride, you have all of this water to manage and all of the show systems. If you strip away just the Caribbean facade of that building and look inside, it is a tangle of steel and conduit, and pumps, and catwalks, and all of that is what makes theme-park design so complex. Think about the millions and millions of people that will travel down the street in Radiator Springs and will go into all these these buildings, and, of course, they have to be very functional. Let's take Flo's v-eight café, for an example. We looked at Flows as being the main restaurant, but in the film Cars, it's a pretty small building and we don't actually go inside that building in the movie. So we worked with our friends at Pixar to decide how we wanted to expand Flows so that our guests could actually get inside and have a meal indoors. Flow was actually from, she was a Motorama girl from Detroit, so she had her singing group. And we decided that she would have built a showroom to showcase her singing group and all of their albums, and so we worked with Pixar together to create a bigger story. And actually they added that showroom in the second film. There's an overhead shot of Radiator Springs where you can see the showroom that we added in Cars 2 which is cool. Hopefully, you now have a feeling for how buildings and architecture can support the story and theme of a land, while at the same time being functional and long-lasting. In this next exercise you'll have an opportunity to analyze the buildings in a few different lands and to think about the architecture in your own land. Have fun!