Attractor A.10 Interactive Children Museum
Attractor A.09 Children Festival Marketplace & Attractor A.10 Interactive Children Museum in the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) are designed as an entertainment and an educational places for the young people, ages 10-16, in Saudi Arabia. There are numerous activities that make up the lifestyle of the Saudi teenager which generally fall in amongst three main categories of Activity, Knowledge and Community. Today’s pre-teens and teenagers are faced with a lack of safe and encouraging environments in which to be active, socialise and have fun. All of which, the new Attractor project will provide.
The proposed concept creates a balance by designing a focus around the active, energetic and entertaining. The project has been challenged to create a new building typology which fully accommodates physical activities and up-to-date IT interactivity, as well as a virtual experience through digital media and social networks. A string of plazas at different levels is connected by a circulation system providing an architectural experience like the video games that users explore from cleared stage to the next stage. The journey wraps around the perimeter of the building with the interstitial spaces resulting between the plazas.
Curiously, the original brief was so undefined that the client requested Gensler to come up with a new and more precise brief to meet the expectations of the development. To create it, the team explored a large number of entertainment venues around the world and extracted the components that best suited the image in our client’s mind to create a landmark project, educational- oriented and entertainment-oriented, active and engaging places for pre-teens and young visitors.
Children Festival Marketplace & Children’s Interactive Museum are buildings fall within the aspirations for KAFD to become a world class development. They are two (of ten) buildings that will house more “civic” functions within the confines of a Financial District. They are situated on a landscape plaza that marks the beginning of the “Wadi”, a central landscaped park that connects the different areas of the master plan.
For Children Festival Marketplace, building’s massing is a great example of a concept that works from the inside out despite its apparent random nature. The functions are planned around a guest experience distributed over several plazas or “clouds” and a series of “hyperlinks” that engage the user in a videogame-like fashion. Each user has a controller in the form of a band wrist (fashion accessory) that can be used to navigate the spaces, interact with the hyperlinks and effectively “play” the building. The external envelope has been fashioned around the idea of a bouncing cube and stop-motion to create an animated shell that represents the activities occurring inside. The striking resulting geometry of the building makes it as playful as its contents.