Science North: Wild Weather
Wild Weather for Science North is a 6,000-square-foot blockbuster traveling interactive exhibition, immersing visitors of all ages in the science of severe weather.
- Science North
- Wild Weather – Travelling Exhibit, Science North, Various Locations
- 6,000 sq. ft.
- Design-Build, Exhibit Design, Graphic Design
- N. America
- Year Completed
The goal for the Wild Weather exhibition was to provide an engaging, immersive, and entertaining experience for visitors to explore severe weather; including its power and its unpredictability. Science North wanted to leverage the public’s fascination with severe weather events to increase visitor understanding of the science behind severe weather, its connection to the world’s changing climate, and the emerging technologies and forecasting techniques.
The proposed exhibit needed to showcase the stories of weather researchers, scientists, broadcasters, forecasters and extreme weather seekers who are working to better understand severe weather events while preparing for future shaped by climate change. Wild Weather would not only need to provide a great experience, but would also need to be designed and fabricated to meet the rigorous demands of travelling.
Powerful forces of nature are found throughout this exhibition. Visitors encounter thunderstorms, dance through winter snowstorms and explore extreme heat events. Visitors can experience a research flight through an intensive hurricane, witness the destruction by the power of a tornado, follow turbulent cloud formations and lightning strikes, become citizen scientists in the midst of a raging winter storm, and meet a researcher studying the force of wind in the lab. There are kid-focused crawl throughs and photo opportunities throughout.
The exhibit is divided into key theme areas, each differentiated by using bright colours inspired by weather radar to easily orient visitors and highlight key elements within the space. Zones are hands-on and interactive, each with its own mix of experiments, challenges, models, sculpture, digital interactives, multimedia experiences, and large scale images.
Atmospheric fabric walls with large format graphics showcasing extreme weather events are used to encase the exhibit and direct visitors. A gallery of hurricane photography and its impact on citizens across the United States is also given a special design treatment in the center of the exhibit. These large photographic images are displayed on freestanding walls layered in distressed wood to embody the destruction and ruin left behind by these overwhelming forces of nature.
As a travelling exhibit, special consideration was taken to design a collection of exhibits that can be reoriented in each host venue and still maintain continuity and cohesiveness. Exhibits were designed to be stand-alone and easily assembled and disassembled for transport and given a strict height limit.
- Developing exciting travelling exhibitions such as Wild Weather is crucial to stimulating the local economy, from creating and sustaining jobs, to developing job skills, to driving tourists to Northern Ontario.Guy Labine
Science North CEO
Wild Weather is an intensive and jam-packed travelling show. Science North leveraged its in-house capabilities to deliver extensive multimedia and also utilized a new unique partnership with the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) who fabricated a large number of the exhibits. R&P developed a successful working relationship with the Science North and OSC and together the team delivered a number of interactive elements that are the stars of the show. Also hugely successful is the gesture-based dance interactive where visitors young and old can literally ‘dance up a storm’. As they create movement, they add more energy into the system, provoking storm elements. It is charming and fun amidst a comprehensive display of scientific exploration.
The project had a short development window; therefore, the OSC fabrication shop was brought onboard early to streamline the process. The R&P design team worked closely with the client and fabricator to expedite the development of the design concepts in order to allow for a detailed design development and prototyping process under a tight timeline. Despite the short duration, the project was successful because of a strong team, great communication and collaboration.