Winter 2016 Newsletter

Studio News, published four times a year, is a quick wrap-up of a few of this quarter’s stories. Be sure to connect with us on social media, too, for additional stories and details on a more immediate basis.

DuPage Children’s Museum

DuPage Children’s Museum

On a Sunday in early January 2015 when the Naperville, IL DuPage Children’s Museum was closed and the weather was frigid, a pipe on the third floor burst, sending thousands of gallons of water cascading into the two floors below and ruining many of the existing exhibits.

This fall, eight months after the flood and with help from many different teams, the Museum reopened better than ever, with redesigned and reimagined exhibits to serve the Museum’s audience.

In the first days following the flood, the Museum’s staff went into motion immediately to save what exhibits they could and to mitigate any additional damage due to mold and mildew. That’s when Cricket Brooks, the Museum’s senior exhibits manager at the time, called Chicago Scenic, first for urgent help in assessing value for the insurance claims, and then to remove exhibits. Later, Chicago Scenic Senior Project Manager Jim Mallerdino and Chicago Scenic crews would work with Brooks and designers Peter and Sharon Exley from Chicago design firm ArchitectureisFun on the accelerated design-build process.

“Early on, Cricket and I walked through the museum many times and I began spreadsheets to value the damaged exhibits. In March we began removing those exhibits we thought could be salvaged,” said Mallerdino, “and moved them to Chicago Scenic’s shop to rebuild and repair.”

While that repair work was ongoing, the Museum moved into temporary donated quarters in Aurora’s Fox Valley Mall so the Museum could continue to serve its audience. Work continued at a fast pace in preparation for the Museum’s projected Fall 2015 opening.

“As our crew began to finish refurbishing pieces, we’d store them at CSSI, and start up on the next section,” Mallerdino said. “In August, we began to install pieces as they were completed, working against our September deadline.”

The result is 7,000 sq. ft. of popular exhibits comprised of a newly designed and refurbished “Make it Move” exhibit, the new “Creativity Connections”, and the new “Big Lawn” space with rolling ‘hills’ that children can slide down (see photo at right). Other new exhibits include the Pyramid Interactive, the decorative craft area Papel Picado, and a restful book nook with ‘quilted’ floor.

The exhibits also include the rebuilt Construction House (shown at right) where children learn construction techniques in supervised play, and the aquarium found in the “Little Explorers” area.

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One Liberty Observation Deck

One Liberty Observation Deck

This November, Philadelphia residents and visitors began enjoying a view 883 feet above street level at the city’s new One Liberty Observation Deck.

Located in One Liberty Place, the attraction embraces the city’s rich history and highlights one of its most famous sons, inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin, in a big way. At the Observatory’s second floor entrance visitors first see Franklin’s giant legs and feet. After riding the elevator up to the 57th floor, visitors are greeted by Franklin’s geometric bust, complete with his characteristic wire-frame spectacles.

Chicago Scenic artists spent months in the Chicago shop sculpting the statue’s massive legs, shoes and head, then adding the patina-like coating of bluish-green paint. At the same time, Metals Department Head Beth Smith was meticulously forming Franklin’s spectacles. When all the pieces were completed, they were carefully packed and transported to Philadelphia. As an homage to Franklin’s famous kite and key electrical experiment, Observatory guests experience a simulated thunderstorm and lightning every four minutes.

BRC Imagination Arts led the Observation Deck’s creative development team. Following their initial design concept, Chicago Scenic, working with Observation Deck General Manager Evan Evans and management firm Montparnasse 56, engaged design firm Provost Studio to develop the final design. CSSI’s Project Director Ross Hamilton and Project Manager Will Burns managed this extensive design-build project.

Wall-sized murals designed by Peter Provost tell the story of Philadelphia’s rich cultural, sports and musical heritage. On the 57th floor, interactive kiosks offer guests the opportunity to zoom in on areas of the city and learn more about neighborhood attractions.

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Atrium Christmas Tree

Atrium Christmas Tree

Guests at the Gaylord National Resort in Washington, D.C. received a special treat just outside their hotel rooms this holiday season – a 55-foot illuminated Christmas tree that rose 13 stories from the hotel’s lobby level.

Chicago Scenic worked with Hotopp Associates to create the larger-than-life tree that marked the entrance to Gaylord’s annual holiday festival, Christmas on the Potomac.

The tree is made of 11 stacked aluminum stars zipped up in custom-printed opaque fabric, enabling easy installation and dismantling. Fourteen white spandex stars, each outfitted with LED lighting, are mounted to a steel armature to form the tree topper.

More than 2,000 LED video nodes wrap around the tree’s bright red garland, and each node is programmed with RGB video lighting that is run via a hippotizer to change lights with the music. As a final touch, the ornamental stars hanging from the tree’s branches are illuminated and periodically change colors.

In addition to enjoying the tree, guests had the opportunity to decorate gingerbread men, glide down slides made of solid ice, learn about the history of Christmas, and watch ice carving demonstrations.

Chicago Scenic Project Manager Stefan Koniarz managed the project and worked closely with TenFab Design, RGB Lights, Hotopp Associates and the Gaylord Resort to bring the project to life.

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Rosemont Christmas

Rosemont Christmas

Despite the rain and chilly winds, Rosemont’s recent tree-lighting ceremony helped put the crowd of attendees in the holiday spirit. In preparation for this annual tradition, Chicago Scenic worked closely with the Village of Rosemont to update Santa’s village in time for the November 27 opening night.

Several existing holiday buildings, including the barn, train depot and school house, all received fresh coats of paint and upgraded interiors. A new sleigh – a popular spot for holiday photo opportunities - was refurbished to withstand seasonal snow and cold weather wear and tear.

Chicago Scenic crews built a new Santa’s House complete with custom detailing that included decorative gingerbread trim, a reindeer door knocker, and red mailbox. The house’s aluminum frame chimney leads down to a fireplace that is equipped with artificial logs and fire.

One of the project’s greatest challenges, according to Project Director Ross Hamilton, was designing and building a water-tight, temperature controlled house that could be easily transported from Chicago Scenic’s facility and installed in the park.

Chicago Scenic’s teams integrated a new heating system into the building so that Santa, his elves, and their guests all stay toasty warm. Kinc Design’s Katherine Ross designed the new Santa House.

Hamilton worked with Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens and Rosemont officials to ensure that all village codes were met throughout the project.

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Piranesi Circus

Piranesi Circus

Beginning in 2015, Chicago celebrated its Architecture Biennial – ‘The State of the Art of Architecture’ – that included three months of exhibitions, workshops, tours, and events in recognition of the City’s arts and architecture.

As part of the event, the Chicago Cultural Center’s building and courtyard served as the backdrop for Tokyo architecture firm Atelier Bow-wow’s sculptural ‘Piranesi Circus’.

Although the courtyard is inaccessible to Cultural Center guests, the exhibit’s bridged stairways, ladder, swing, and balcony are visible from the building’s internal windows. From design to installation, Chicago Scenic’s crews worked to protect the building exterior while meeting tight deadlines for the opening festivities of the Biennial. Although the floating staircases look small and lightweight, they have the potential to exert over a ton of lateral force to the building structure, so connection points were specifically engineered for each piece.

Project Manager Jean Burch and Project Director Ross Hamilton worked with Brian Foote of Woodhouse Tinucci Architects to bring the design to life. Admission to the Chicago Cultural Center is free and the exhibit is scheduled to remain open until Spring 2016.

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