What is a Theme Park Architect?
A Theme Park Architect is a licensed professional who specializes in the design and planning of theme parks. These individuals typically have a background in architecture, engineering, or a related field, and are responsible for creating the overall layout, design, and permitable contract documents & drawings for all built and habitable facilities contained within a theme park or themed environment.
The work of a theme park architect involves collaborating with other professionals, such as:
- Landscape Architects
- Master Planners
- Civil Engineers
- Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineers
- Fire Protection Engineers
- Low Voltage and Structured System Engineers
- Interior Designers
- Graphic Designers
- Theme Lighting Designers
- Ride Engineers
- Show Lighting Designers
- Show Sound and Show Effects specialists
- Show Managers
- Prop Managers
- Creative Designers and Executives
- Project Managers
- Design Managers
- Construction Managers
- Fire Marshals
- Building Department Officials
- Environmental and Sustainability specialists
- Surveyors / 3D Scanners
- Theme Park Operators
- Corporate Insurance Representatives
- Life Safety Specialists
Theme park architects must have a deep understanding of the creative and technical aspects of theme park design, as well as a keen understanding of the business and operational aspects of the theme park and themed entertainment industry.
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Understanding the Theme Park Architect’s Role
Architects working on theme park design must also be able to balance the needs of various stakeholders, including guests, investors, and park operators, to create a successful and sustainable theme park.
The typical job duties of a theme park architect may include:
- Plan, direct and monitor all aspects of a single or multiple projects with a high degree of technical complexity.
- Responsible for the coordination of Architectural and Engineering design efforts utilizing internal self-performed talent and/or outside design talent.
- Work with the company’s finance group and Architectural and Engineering leads to develop deliverables and estimate packages and scope for various projects.
- Bring complete closure of projects from design through construction; prepare a plan of action for resolving design related issues; monitor internal staffing needs; and coordinate with the client’s representatives, internal design Studios and outside design consultants using BIM enabled strategies or more traditional project delivery methodologies.
- An effective and resourceful team leader with a strong work ethic and values, and the ability to collaborate in a fast-paced and continually evolving work environment.
- Lead the effort to write project design scope and select internal and/or outside design consultant candidates, as required for Architectural and Engineering design services.
- Responsible for preparing the technical management of inspection, testing laboratories & consultants, direction of quality control personnel, and Code compliance of existing assets prior to project capitalization and/or during the early design phases.
- Create and maintain Architectural and Engineering man-hour soft cost estimates for early project budget determination and throughout the duration of the project.
- The role, at the inception of a project, includes leading existing asset condition assessment and various code compliance surveys to assist in defining design risk and report on existing conditions that may affect the overall design and success of the project.
- Established facility design strategies for engineering, sustainable design practices, civil design, architectural design, and other design disciplines such as landscape architecture, etc.
- Acts as the single point of contact for all design related issues with the Authority Having Jurisdiction/Building Officials, local utility service providers, Fire Marshal, company legal counsel and Safety representatives, and the Owner/Client representatives.
- Acts as the subject matter expert for project delivery, company standards and best practices with all Architectural and Engineering design consultants to assure delivery of the project’s life cycle expectations.
- Creates a forum for the review of the design input to the Architectural and Engineering design team by all project stakeholders. The Design Manager should leverage new technologies and software to record, archive and distribute with transparency all design input comments.
- Advise Executive Management or project leadership on the overall project’s design progress, direction & priorities, and monitors department and design consultant costs and schedules to advise the project manager and team on status and health of the design.
- Develops a design input matrix which identifies and establishes the scheduled date that design input from other team members and/or stakeholders must be incorporated into the architectural and engineering design deliverables.
- The Design Manager shall stay abreast of all new industry level design management strategies, new construction means & methods, new design and/or design collaboration technology and software that will make the design management process more cost effective and more efficient.
- Work with the Architectural and Engineering or project scheduler to assist the integration of architectural and facility engineering activities into the overall project schedule.
- Responsible for preparing the Quality Assurance program and promote the use of sustainable design features.
- Work closely with the project manager and construction management group on the timely release of final drawings to internal and external project stakeholders for production and construction.
- During the construction phase work closely with the Architectural and Engineering design team to assure timely response to Requests for Information (RFI) and construction shop drawing and submittals. Also, ensure, monitor, and track the designers’ construction administration soft cost budget is being adhered to through the construction phase and project closeout.
- Post construction phase and during project closeout, ensure that all contractual obligations are met by the design team with regards to as-built drawing releases, final project manual release, etc.
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