The Epicenter

Finalist 2020

No Matter the Magnitude, We can Prepare.

The Epicenter — an earthquake simulator at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) — was designed to allow visitors to experience simulated earthquakes and practice, in real-time, the physical actions that they can take to protect themselves if they ever experience an earthquake first hand.

Visitors enter the air-powered shake platform and are prompted by a large-scale map highlighting locations of major earthquakes across the world. A ‘story selection console’ stands at the center of the platform and calls out three places to investigate. The visitor selects one of the featured stories by pressing a large and tactile, illuminated button. Once activated, a story comes to life first with a narrated introduction– then an auditory, visual and haptic scene begins to unfold. Each story is a layered, programmatic sequence of content that draws the visitor into the story by engaging multiple senses.

Complex infrastructure coordination between digital and mechanical elements needed to be designed and engineered holistically. Digital animations, lighting cues, visual iconography, and coordinated audio layers all sync up with activated pneumatic components. The content layers and technical approach were seamlessly integrated to withstand thousands of hours of shaking and vibrations.

So remember, ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On.’ Visitors of the Epicenter will certainly be more prepared for any earthquake ahead after visiting this simulator.

Design Firms: 

plus & greater than

Client: 

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Project Area: 

200 sq ft

Open Date: 

May 2019

Project Budget: 

N/A

Photo Credits: 

Ty Milford

Design Team: 

Traci Sym (creative director, experience design & visitor choreography), Daniel Meyers (creative director, physical design & experience design), Kate Wolf (producer), Nick Ostini (graphic design)

Consultants: 

Valar Engineering: Norm Faris (structural engineer)

Sisbro Studios: Laura Sams (audio producer)

Ty Milford (photographer)

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry: Erin Graham (executive sponsor), Shivani Seastone (project manager), David Laubenthal (creative director), Allyson Woodard (education lead), Thomas Hudson (technology lead), Justin Patrizi, (creative technologist), Daniel Smolentsev (creative technologist), Owen Premore

Fabricators: 

Jeremy Ingebrand (project director), Nathan Blair (project manager)

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