Roto selected to create future science centre in Northern Virginia

Roto, a leading planning & design-build firm, has been selected to create a future science center in Northern Virginia, alongside HGA.

Roto is pleased to announce that it has been chosen by the Children’s Science Center and the Science Museum of Virginia to work on the new project, along with design firm HGA. The two companies specialise in architecture and exhibit design and will work to develop a regional resource to promote STEM learning.

Roto completed the master plan for the new science centre in 2017, and then went on to win the competitive bid process of the rest of the design-build work.

New science centre

The announcement was made this week by the board of directors of the Children’s Science Center and trustees of the Science Museum of Virginia. This was at a Launch the Future event, the $75 million capital campaign to raise the funds to build the new centre.

The planned 70,000 square foot interactive science centre is to be built on donated land in Loudoun County, Virginia. Its aim is to inspire an interest in science in the region and to make STEM subjects more accessible. It will include exhibits for all ages to explore and will position Northern Virginia as a technology hub.

“We have worked with the Roto team on a number of the Museum’s signature exhibits, and they always do extraordinary work,” says Science Museum of Virginia Chief Wonder Officer Richard Conti. “Their creativity, passion and spirit of collaboration is the perfect combination for turning ideas into memorable guest experiences.”

An exciting collaboration

Children's Science Centre, Virginia, logoRoto led the development of the initial concept master plan, in partnership with the two museums and local community stakeholders. The company has successfully worked on several projects with the Science Museum of Virginia, including the development of popular exhibits such as “Boost!”, “Speed” and “The Forge”.

“We’re excited to collaborate on such an experienced client and design team, and believe the project will break new ground for interactive science museums in the U.S.,” says Joseph Wisne, president and CEO for Roto.

“We are thrilled that our project will benefit from both the local Northern Virginia knowledge and the national expertise of HGA, a firm well-regarded in our industry for designing highly effective and inspiring world-class cultural facilities,” adds Adalene “Nene” Spivy, executive director of the Children’s Science Center.

Transforming the region

Also present at the announcement was the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, as well as many other regional business and community leaders. The event celebrated the public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Loudoun County, and its aims to transform the region thanks to this project.

“When we talk about the impact of STEM, we are talking about our future and that of our children,” said Governor Northam. “It’s all about training tomorrow’s workforce and really knowing where the jobs of the 21st century are—they are in science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics, and in healthcare—and we want to encourage all of our children to go into these fields, especially here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Renderings for children's science centre Virginia by Roto

Lead naming sponsor, Northwest Federal Credit Union, has pledged $10 million to fund the new museum. This, plus several other notable contributions from the Commonwealth and Loudon County, means that the project has already reached 85 per cent of its funding goal.

The new institution will serve as an extension of the Science Museum of Virginia, a museum that caters to over 500,000 visitors every year and which has served the community for four decades. In addition to this, the Children’s Science Centre, which has been open since 2015, sees more than 70,000 visitors come through its doors each year, inspiring the next generation of science-lovers. The huge demand for these services shows the need for a future science centre for the region.

The next phase of the project will include branding work in order to name the science centre, as well as continued private fundraising.

Roto is built on the experience of creative veterans of a large and ambitious interactive museum. The company works with museums, zoos & aquariums, brand destinations and attractions.