Because California has the largest concentration of high-technology industries in the world and is a global center for entertainment and animation, the SUPRASTUDIO has looked into the future to how architecture can express these entertainment industries in spatial and cultural building terms by integrating large scale media and robotics to animate cities, buildings and spaces; and through the use of narrative and immersive approaches to the design of environments that are the material expression of Southern California popular cultures.
Walt Disney Imagineering has been the only imaginable partner in such an intellectual and creative project as they are a unique, innovative organization that creates — from concept through construction— all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments and regional entertainment venues worldwide. Imagineering's unique strength comes from the teamwork and syntheses of creative and technical professionals representing more than 140 diverse disciplines.
The students began with a Gateway Project that looked at how to define the threshold of an immersive environment as well as how to design with media and/or robotics as well as structure and form. Next the students worked to rethink and re-imagine the existing entry sequence and plaza of EPCOT including landscape, streetscape, shading structures, entertainment venues, exhibition spaces, retail, food and beverage functions. The third design task was taking the Disney immersive resort experience and condensing it into an urban family resort hub in one of 5 major cities. In this project the students created a unique resort including +400 rooms with internal events and programs while leveraging the cities themselves as curated experiences from a home base that are comparable Disney Resort experiences. These projects began to integrate state-of-the-art digital imaging, augmented reality, building-scale robotics, smart building control sensors and energy systems, all of which are available today but have never before been combined into an architecturally considered total environment let alone celebrated experientially in an immersive environment such as those created by Disney Imagineering. The final project is a master plan and building design that integrates all of these characteristics of the resort experiences into a creative campus with connections to the local and larger context through experimental theater, exhibition, retail and service functions.