Monday, February 21, 2011

Featured Project: Environment and Natural Resources, Phase 2 building at the University of Arizona

How do you depict one of the most ambitious green building projects ever contemplated in Arizona? That was the task for the Kitchen Sink Studios team when we were retained as part of a collaborative effort between the University of Arizona, richard + bauer architects and several other groups to create the University of Arizona's Environment and Natural Resources, Phase 2 (ENR2) building.

University of Arizona officials are kicking off a capital campaign to raise the money to build ENR2, which will house six university departments. They wanted the kind of fundraising presentation that literally would bring the building to life for prospective donors and show just how much thought went into its incredibly sustainable design. ENR2 is inspired by a natural slot-canyon design to help minimize the impact of the desert elements, and when completed, will be one of the most environmentally sensitive structures ever built in Arizona, with the goal of obtaining coveted LEED-Platinum certification.

The Kitchen Sink team created three groundbreaking products to illustrate how ENR2 will work and truly bring the structure to life:

• An interactive, web-based presentation that opens with a tour of an animated slot canyon, showing just how it inspired the design of ENR2. The opening presentation then transitions into an interactive learning environment showing five different viewpoints of ENR2 and depicting some of the many features that make it such a sustainable project.

An "augmented reality" presentation of ENR2 that allows anyone with a web camera on their computer to experience a three-dimensional, interactive version of the building that can be rotated in their own hands. The augmented reality presentation literally brings the building to life and allows the viewer to experience the building from any angle.

• A printed piece, which was printed on 100 percent FSC certified paper to ensure its sustainability, that tears off into postcards featuring the complete set of renderings of ENR2 and background information on the project, as well as the placard needed for the augmented reality presentation.

All told, it was a great example of how Kitchen Sink's 3D and animation capabilities can be used in both web-based and printed pieces to create tremendous communication tools. It's also a great example of just how much is possible when you have an open-minded client like the UofA, a top-notch design team like richard + bauer, and the creativity of the Kitchen Sink team come together.