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Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean Announces Architectural and Creative Design Firms to Develop New Facility

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The Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean is setting its sights on a new course. 

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After a thorough request for proposal process, the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean design and construction committee selected the nationally lauded, Irvine-based architectural firm, LPA Inc., to spearhead the design for its future waterfront facility for the Core Building Shell and Site phase that includes concept, planning and design, schematic design and design development of preconstruction. 

This design phase will include programming, themes and objectives.  LPA Inc.’s reputation for designing museums, institutions, and environmental centers with cutting-edge, green methods that maximize funding opportunities and deliver beautiful functional projects on time and within budget made the firm the logical choice for Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean. 
 
In addition, the committee has selected The Hettema Group, an award-winning creative design team renowned for creating immersive experiences that encompass both entertainment and education.   The Hettema Group will provide concept design,   presentation themes and key unifying project elements.  “We’re enthusiastic about the  opportunity to tell the ExplorOcean story in an exciting new way – creating an immersive,   enlightening experience for audiences of all ages, ” said Phil Hettema, president and creative executive of The Hettema Group.  The initial design phase will focus on developing highly specialized artistic, theatrical and educational elements of the experience ExplorOcean guests will come to enjoy.
 
Project management will be provided through Questar Construction.  Questar is a Newport Beach company specializing in Commercial Project Management, Construction Management, Design/Build and General Contracting.  It is rated amongst the top 50 commercial general contractors in California and was recently named the number one best small business to work in Orange County by the Orange County Business Journal.    “Questar is proud to be on the ExplorOcean Team.  This project represents an opportunity to revive the entire historic Balboa Peninsula Village area and will also provide the local community with a village center it can be proud of, ” said Jim Salomon, principle of Questar Construction.

Over the next six months, LPA Inc. will provide the organization with the conceptual design of the waterfront site and programming as well as assistance with government agency approvals, and the requisite schematic design and procurement and management of other design services. This first design phase will result in the project’s overall visual tools, preconstruction design and plans, design of the permanent exhibit, presentation elements and presentation media.  This phase will culminate in an on-site project preview center that will open late fall of this year at the organization’s 25th Anniversary event. 

During this phase LPA Inc. and The Hettema Group will also develop the interior and exterior facility models, renderings and a media generated interactive presentation that will allow the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean to move forward in their capital campaign.  “We feel extremely confident this highly talented team will guide the development of ExplorOcean through our next exciting steps in becoming a world class cultural destination, ” comments Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean President, Rita Stenlund.  These visual tools will be housed in the new preview center and will be available for the community to view and monitor the progress of the project.
 
A refinement of visioning, ongoing strategic planning and a dedicated design and construction effort continues to prepare this cultural organization to expand its reach outside the Newport Beach city limits into the Southern California region and beyond. The expansion plan aims to develop the organization into a world class cultural destination and program that enlightens people of all ages about the adventure, mystery and science of our blue planet through educational programs and full sensory immersion exhibits and presentations. 
 
To exemplify commitment to this goal, the museum’s Board of Trustees has set breaking of ground for the year 2015, with a targeted new facility completion in 2017.
 
About The Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean

The Newport Harbor Nautical Museum/ExplorOcean was founded in 1986.  Current exhibitions include The Richard and Betty Steele Model Pavilion Ship Model Collection, the East Wing Gallery’s presentation of Sea of Adventure and the new Extraordinary People Gallery, which features Nick Scandone – Living the Dream.  Last year the organization established a new brand, ExplorOcean, which communicates an active connection with the ocean. New design and programming efforts are now underway with plans to develop a new cultural destination.  A preview of the new ExplorOcean will open fall 2011 at the organization’s 25th Anniversary celebration.  www.nhnm.org
 
About LPA Inc.

Founded in 1965, LPA Inc. has more than 230 employees with offices in Irvine, Roseville, and San Diego, Calif. The firm provides services in architecture, sustainability, planning, interior design, landscape architecture, engineering, and graphics. At 78%, they have the highest percentage of LEED accredited staff in the nation. With extensive experience in public and private architecture, LPA Inc. designs a diversity of facilities that span from K-12 schools, colleges and universities, to corporate and civic establishments. In 2010, the firm was recognized nationally as a Top Five Green Design Firm in Education by industry magnate, Engineering News-Record. More than 400 major design awards attest to LPA’s commitment to design excellence.
 
About The Hettema Group

The Hettema Group, located in Pasadena, California, specializes in creative design, production and architecture for the world of experiential entertainment including museums, visitor centers, theme parks, and resort destinations.   Recently, the firm has been honored with distinguished awards – including the 2010 Gold MUSE Award by the American Association of Museums, and the prestigious Thea Award by the Themed Entertainment Association – for “Beyond All Boundaries, ” the new multi-sensory cinematic experience at The National World War II Museum in New Orleans.  Concept, design and production were led by The Hettema Group.  Tom Hanks served as executive producer and narrator for the 4-D presentation.

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