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Ride the Sky Pod elevator 102 floors to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and feel the rhythm and pulse of New York in 47 amazing, immersive seconds. That’s the experience visitors get when they visit New York’s One World Observatory.
The Observatory sits on top of One World Trade Center, the embodiment of architectural prominence and design in New York City, an iconic skyscraper needs an iconic observatory and it has become a major tourist destination for the city through its innovative use of experiential technology.
Electrosonic partnered with the Hettema Group, fusing technology, architecture and storytelling to bring the city and its history to life. It’s not just visitors who are impressed. The innovative Observatory experience has received the prestigious Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Attractions category.
To keep visitors engaged, the owners wanted to build anticipation for the top-floor spectacle and create a welcoming atmosphere immediately.
Guests walk into the building at the ground-floor reception where they give information about themselves that creates a personalized welcome in their own language in the Global Welcome Center.
They walk through the basement and ground floor experience where video walls and voices tell the story of the building and its history as well as the history of New York.
Following the experience at ground level visitors ride in the Sky Pod. An elevator that travels at speed up 102 floors where visitors are surrounded by an immersive time journey that recreates the history of Manhattan across centuries from its origins as a wooded island to an international city of commerce — all in just 47 seconds.
The show doesn’t stop there. When they reach the top, there’s a projection-mapped show – the ‘See Forever’ theater, which then opens to reveal the stunning New York skyline. Within the observatory are many other interactive audiovisual elements, like the Sky Portal which recreates the experience of walking over a glass floor created by a floor-mounted video wall.
The owners wanted to engage visitors immediately. At the Global Welcome Center, for example, they wanted to personalize the greeting. They wanted to retain interest on the journey through the basement and then make the ride to the top more than a basic trip in an elevator. Creating experiential installations throughout the different elements of the journey was a major challenge. Teams had to work within the confines of rigorous site operational and security requirements as well as a tight schedule.
Electrosonic used experiential technology throughout. The Global Welcome Center creates a personalized greeting for visitors by converting real time data into multilingual messages and displaying interesting facts about visitors’ journeys.
The experience in the elevator is completely immersive, surrounding occupants with virtual timelapse recreations of history. When visitors reach the top an innovative videowall gradually reveals a stylized skyscape to set the scene for stunning live views of the city.
One World Observatory has proved to be a major tourist attraction drawing large crowds from around the world. It has received a prestigious industry award for achievement with audiovisual technology playing a key role in engaging, entertaining and informing visitors in an innovative way.
The immersive experience throughout the journey demonstrates that experiential technology can create lasting memories in every type of space.