Colours & Shapes
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Vancouver Aquarium

 
 

In June of 2015, the Vancouver Aquarium unveiled the largest expansion in its 58 year history. At the heart of this ambitious expansion was the newly created "connections gallery" - a central gathering hub and grand entrance to the reimagined space. C&S worked closely with the Vancouver Aquarium, MCM Partners (architect), TMM (agency) and engineers to design and integrate a permanent projection mapped centrepiece for this space.

 
 
 

 
 
 

Early Development

Early in the design process, the client and architect indicated the desire to immerse the visitor in 360 degrees of video, utilizing a series of scalloped bulkhead faces as video surfaces. However, all conventional methods explored up to that point required an excessive number of projectors to achieve adequate coverage. Additionally, the irregular shape and segmentation of the bulkhead design made traditional projection alignment very challenging. We proposed a projection mapped design that would allow for fewer projectors and would embraced the unique shape of the segmented bulk head as an architectural design feature.

 
 
 
 

Design

Through the design process we worked closely with MCM Partnership (architects) to find the ideal projection placement. We devised a method of placing the projectors in the space that allowed us to use only 7 projectors to cover the entire 360 degree surface with each projector sitting in its optimal location in 3D space for maximum resolution and brightness.The projector placement was strategically chosen to minimize the visual impact of the entire system and leave the architectural details in the wood slat ceiling unobscured. Finally, in order to play back media at the maximum possible resolution across this massive canvas, we designed and built a media server system capable of feeding HD resolution video to each of the 7 projectors as well as manage all projection mapping, warping and edge blending. 

 
 
 
 

Results

The Teck Connections Gallery opened in June of 2015 to an overwhelming reception from visitors and remains a highlight and central exhibit at the aquarium. The space immerses visitors in an ever changing array of aquatic and marine environments captured with a custom 360 degree camera system as well as custom motion graphics produced in house by the Van Aqua media team. This project beautifully demonstrates the creative potential of integrating custom media - specifically projection mapping - into architecture.