If you could see into the future, what would it be? That is the question the architects at HOK have been hard at work to answer on the Capitol Complex Phase II Project and they have just finished an animated preview to show us! Combining concepts and research from the Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan 2020 Update with the lessons learned from the Phase I Project, HOK is designing modern indoor and outdoor spaces that pay homage to the surrounding architecture of the Capitol Complex while providing workplace amenities that promote efficiency and productivity.
A multi-phased, historic undertaking like the Capitol Complex Project requires a variety of communication tools to help us understand what is coming and prepare for the future. One of the most effective of these tools is an animation video. As Ben Crawford, senior principal of design at HOK, explains, “The Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) wants to help everyone envision what is not there today. Our job at HOK was to make the animation as realistic as possible so viewers can imagine themselves walking through the buildings.” The finished animation is so realistic that it is easy to believe you are actually watching a film. The animation even uses special effects technology used in the movie industry. Move over, Marvel; make way for the Capitol Complex Project!
The first step in creating the animation was determining what information it would convey. HOK met with the TFC Facilities Design and Communications teams to plan the video. The primary goal was to align the new animation with the Phase I animation and show Phase II within the broader context of the Capitol Complex Project.
The Capitol Complex Project Phase II Future Vision video starts where the Phase I video ends. Both videos face south with a view of the Texas State Capitol to keep the focus of the video on the Capitol Complex in its entirety. The basis of both videos is the Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan 2020 Update, which emphasizes the user experience. The Texas Capitol Mall serves as the central axis of the Capitol Complex Project; therefore, keeping the Mall in the video’s foreground was essential.
Interior renderings of 1500 Congress (on top) and 1501 Lavaca (on bottom) and illustrate how the buildings will bring the outside in with open, sunlit lobbies and common areas for informal meetings and gatherings.
As the video progresses, the view turns to show how the new buildings interconnect with the Texas Capitol Mall. The facility designs are based on modern Class A office buildings using methodology such as maximizing natural daylight for user comfort. Graphic renderings and animation illustrating the interiors and outdoor courtyard keep the focus on the user experience. Imagine walking through the campus and stopping at a café to get a cup of coffee or a bite to eat before heading to your office or next meeting. At the end of the video, the view expands to show all of Phase II within the larger frame of the Capitol Complex.
Collaboration and Hundreds of Hours
The animation evolved over hundreds of manhours by a dozen designers and visualization artists. HOK created digital modeling of the building and graphics renderings of the interiors. They partnered with a visualization studio to apply the textures, shadows, landscaping, and lighting that give the animation the realistic “you are here” quality that TFC sought to achieve. This is when the movie magic happened. From plant selection to ensuring the cars were driving in the right direction, the animation team used a precision eye for detail, close collaboration, and an iterative process to verify that every detail was accurate.
“The Capitol Complex tenants and visitors know the buildings surrounding the Phase II site. Therefore, it was important to get it right. Giving viewers a complete experience and providing a view of the surrounding buildings and amenities was as important as showing the Phase II project itself,” said Crawford.
Creating an animation video has benefits beyond communicating the vision to a broad audience. The animation also gives the design team a holistic view of their design. “It is important that whatever we visualize is resolved technically and depicts what we have designed. Through the animation process, we thoroughly study the different perspectives of a project to ensure that the design flows seamlessly. This allows us to walk the project virtually, viewing it through the eyes of the user and testing how our ideas will be experienced,” said Crawford.
The Phase II project will be completed in 2027. Until then, we hope you continuously turn to the Capitol Complex Project Phase II Future Vision video to discuss the project with your friends, family, and colleagues and imagine yourself using these new facilities. You can view the video on the homepage of the project website, www.TexasCapitolComplex.org.