For the last few weeks I have been working with the interns at our firm to develop a conceptual design for an “extreme sports area” that will part of the Youth Olympic Park in Nanjing. Now don’t get too excited, “extreme sports area” doesn’t have the same meaning for our clients as it does for most young Americans of my generation. Still it’s a cool concept!
There won’t be and Moto-X and Skydiving but there is a skate park for BMX and skateboarders with some great quarter-pipe and a cool urban free-flow environment There is also a 4 meter bouldering wall and an 8 meter climbing wall for those more adventurous souls. There is talk of using one of the multi-use fields adjacent to the area we are designing as a takeoff and landing point for paragliding but for now that is just hearsay.
When I was first approached about the conceptual work for this portion of the project I was excited but also very hesitant. Not only is this a really large area but also part of an even larger and very notable project for the city of Nanjing. I didn’t really feel that I had the skills needed to pull it off but as none of the Chinese designers had seen or been to a skate park I suppose I was the best one for the job (despite never riding a skateboard).
The project really put my skills to the test as well as forcing me to lead a group of designers to really crack down and finish a conceptual design by a deadline. We were also lucky because each of the three of us have very different skill sets. Niklas and Jan-Olof are digital ninjas, moving through programs like SketchUp and CAD like a deadly design force.
Jan-Olof and Niklas in the office.
I’m more of an old school pen and paper kind of guy. So after sketching out a basic design on paper they were able to knock up a 3D model in the computer pretty quickly. They are also very creative guys and are able to think on the go, make changes as needed, and bring their own ideas into the design which was great because that brought the whole project together.
Above is a picture of Niklas and Jan-Olof when we visited the Youth Olympic Park site a few weeks ago.
I can only hope that later in my masters projects and after that at what ever firm I end up working with, I will be able to work with a team of designers like these guys. They make work fun and that is always important!