Project Spotlight: Okotoks Environmental Education Centre

This summer, the Town of Okotoks opened its new EPCOR Environmental Education Centre to the community! Westwind Design Group had the opportunity to design and produce beautiful, educational water system murals for this new environmental centre.

In this project spotlight we take you through our design and fabrication process that resulted in a fascinating, visual exploration of the Town of Okotoks’ watershed, sustainability plans, and the future of water supply for the community.

We’re so proud to have taken part in this effort to educate the Okotoks community on their effective water system that anyone, from every age group can enjoy.

Client Objective:

The Town of Okotoks approached us with the idea to create a fun and engaging environment that illustrates a variety of water-related information. Our client required a design that was clear and appealing to both children and adults visiting the centre.

We were provided with many aspects and facts that needed to be incorporated into these interactive murals for an adequate learning experience. Some of the information you can find in our design includes:

  • Where our water comes from, how it moves throughout our community, how the community can sustainably manage their water usage, where it goes after usage, and the future of their water supply
  • An explanation of how this green infrastructure is being used to manage the stormwater from the Town’s Operations Centre site, including Living Soil Filtration area which uses a planted trees and soil system to take stormwater and naturally filter back into groundwater
  • How this new eco-system provides a healthy habitat for animals
  • How watershed impacts communities, wildlife, and vegetation
  • The distance the Bow River water basin travels

Design

To achieve our client’s goals it was extremely important to convey very complex information in a way that was easily understandable and fun for a diverse group of people. Our graphic designer worked closely with the Town of Okotoks and scientists during the ideation stages of the murals to ensure the design was as visual as possible with the appropriate text needed to reinforce this complex data.

A child’s point of view had to be kept in mind throughout our design process as the Education Centre also includes a classroom for environmentally-focused events and multi-age lectures. We purposefully used bright colours, imaginative graphics, and natural wood finishes to pull together a design that was clean, fun, and sophisticated.

In order to utilize every inch of space in the centre, window vinyls, maps, and interactive spin units were incorporated. These wall and window graphics were designed to showcase the landscape and animals that live in the area. To make it extra fun for visitors, graphic of animals are hidden in the murals to find! In this centre you can also find a magnetic wall and dry erase wall for visitors to attach messages from their experience.

Finally, to enforce the eco-nature of this centre, custom acrylic pieces that resemble trees, soil, and water were added to give visual dimension to the space and enhance the visitor experience even further.

      

Fabrication

Our fabrication team was very busy during this project as they had many individual pieces to produce before installing them into one cohesive exploration in the Environmental Centre.

 This included:

  • Producing perfectly cut wood panels finished with veneer for a natural look relevant to the overall project
  • Producing and installing custom spin units from scratch
  • Creating custom TV Frames that have the same wood finish of the other incorporated panels
  • Installing a three-dimensional acrylic panel contour we cut into the shape of trees and soil.
  • Printing and installing graphics on the walls, windows, and wood surfaces
  • Installing vinyl, dimensional components, and information panels

 

 

 

Obstacles/Advantages

The biggest challenge of this project was finding a way to translate complex information to any person visiting this centre, including young children. However, our graphic designer had many meetings with our contacts from the Town of Okotoks to ensure our design checked off everything on their list. Our fabrication and design team also work very closely together under one facility throughout any of our exhibit projects. This gives us a huge advantage of being able to clearly communicate the needs and vision of our client with our production team.

The Reveal!

Overall, every participant of this project was set out to create a memorable atmosphere that was both educational and visually stunning. Our client, their staff, and visitors can all agree this was accomplished!

The client was extremely happy with the finished project, as it met all their needs. Our team was so excited to see the reaction of the town on opening day and the enjoyment visitors – including children, took in these interactive displays. We looking forward to doing more work with the Town of Okotoks in 2018 to create beautiful, custom benches within the interpretive area.

 

To plan a visit, and learn more about the EPCOR Environmental Education Centre visit their website here. We’d also love to hear your feedback on our design and process! Find more pictures of this project in our portfolio, comment below and let us know your thoughts. 

info@wwdg.ca

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