The Imaginations competition is a design challenge in which teams from universities across America compete by conceptualizing a resort or theme park based on the prompt of the year. Based on one of the wonders of the world each team was to design all aspects of their proposal, the look, the engineering, the experience and more. Our project centered around the question of "In what ways can you create an experience that explores and shares these wonders safely for a wide range of guests at or near the original presumed location?". Some of the key considerations we had to keep in mind were honoring the environment and local ordinances, the history of the region, being able to share the experience with the group, the integration of traditional methodologies and advanced technological solutions, the inclusion of the whole team's expertise and telling a family friendly story. On top of this we were not permitted to use any existing intellectual property under Disney nor were we allowed to use augmented reality in the experience of our resort.
We devoured research on the subject and began throwing together ideas and sketching at the speed of light. Topics of discussion were location, shape, size, activities, and how those might all fit together into being a place people would want to go to.
Narrowing down our concept
We began to realize we had a too many ideas to move forward. We spent some time thinking about what we valued about our concept and what we wanted to get across to give ourselves a better sense of direction.
Since the project was to be displayed to the judges in a power point presentation I spent a considerable amount of time researching and creating discussion in the team on the illustrations. The nature of power points demanded that the illustrations be immersive and attention grabbing but also informative to really place the audience in this world we have created. To develop the imagery we decided on what we wanted to draw attention to and I would use my expertise in this area to suggest a way to frame those qualities and flesh them out using research on native plants and culture.
Completed first submission
We submitted our project less than 12 weeks of meeting up outside of school had finally materialized and come to a close. The initial submission had an 8 slide limit with 2 of them being in a required format. We had to get creative with how to present our information visually and informatively in only 6 slides. We later heard back that we had made it to the Finalists round and would now be cut loose from the 8 slide maximum to create a a 15 minute presentation.
Back to the drawing board
For finals we were no longer working within any kind of submission constraints so we were able to more fully develop some of our ideas and decide what to feature. We would also be allowed one standard 6 foot table and 2 poster places for a meet and greet event later in the day to further present our ideas. Working smarter not harder, we decided it would be to our benefit to create a model for the table display but also leverage it in generating slide content.
We knew that developing the central building of our resort was going to be the most interesting concept to model and talk about. To do this we tested several variations and sizes in design. It became difficult to imagine the scale of the space we were working with so with a tape measure in hand we took several excursions to various entryways, round buildings and public buildings to understand to create an understanding of space in our minds.
Building the Model
This came with its own engineering challenges. We chose materials that would be light and workable but would also survive the trip to California from Texas in a box or suitcase. For this reason we designed it so that the top two floors would be removable and interlock with the rest of the model at a later point. We then took it outside and had a photo shoot to use these images later in our slides.
Most of our ideas evolved as we juggled what this conceptual resort should look like and embody with how it should be presented. Here you will find a mix of work in progress photos, prototypes and reference material.
At the end of it all we had performed a 15 minute presentation about the features of our resort. Below youll see a gallery of the slideshow as we presented it and a picture of our team. The entire scope of the project lasted from early October right through to February. Although we did not place in the top three, we did emerge as one of the top 6 teams in the nation and returned in the summer of 2019 to participate in various internships with Imagineering. Thank you Juan Felipe Suarez Padilla, Scia Verma, and Nicole Bariuan for stickin' it through.