Universal’s Volcano Bay Sails
Universal’s Volcano Bay, Orlando, Florida
I cannot express how much fun this one was.
There were 3 buildings that the Universal artists had full intention of presenting to the world as sailing boats. Guests enter the Pacific as they pass through the gates of Volcano Bay and it is a world unto itself. Accordingly, the artists were very much correct. The buildings had to be transformed by tall masts, rigging, battens, and sails.
In some respects, to get the framing proportioned properly, the structural design work had to be respectful of nautical design approaches. Early efforts had used approaches like what is done for electrical transmission systems. These approaches drove mast and battens to being grossly oversized. When I joined the team, the direction was to slim things down and paint the picture the artists were envisioning. The nautical design approach worked well. Rigging had to perform as wind bracing. Battens needed to flex about the mast. It was a complicated orchestra of force redistribution, but in the end, it was wholly worth it. Again, I have to say it was fun.