Futuristic Design at Kennedy Space Center
Location: Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex Astronaut Encounter Theater, Merritt Island, Florida
Project Type: Floor
Nestled among rocket ships and high-tech shuttle launch simulators is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Astronaut Encounter Theater. Once through the doors of the building, the renovated lobby and theater transports guests to an area that resembles a space ship – complete with astronauts.
Originally built in the 1970s, the Astronaut Encounter Theater has played a vital role in educating visitors. This exciting presentation features a veteran NASA astronaut each day, providing them with a stage to share a first-hand account of their missions and experiences. Guests gather in the theater where the astronaut of the day provides a presentation about their experience, followed by a question and answer session. The lobby serves as a meet-and-greet area, where guests can take pictures with the astronaut.
Even though the renovation seemed simple, the project was limited to a tight window of time. Slated for early November 2015, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex requested to have the renovation finished prior to the holiday rush, which begins in late November. Because of the firm completion date, the renovation team worked on an eight-day schedule to complete demos, preparations, and installation. Kicking off on November 8, the team removed the vinyl tile from the lobby areas and created a blank canvas to create a futuristic look.
While the actual theater was limited in its design, the architectural team was able to be creative with the lobby area, creating a space that would be ideal for guest photos. The focus of the lobby design was the flooring, which was designed using hexagon-shaped tile and LED lighting. Based on the renderings, Rainey sought carpeting and hexagonal
tile that would bring the perfect balance of drama and neutrality to the active foyer. To select the appropriate tile, Rainey worked with Bob Moore of Mr. David’s Flooring International, LLC.
In the theater area, the project team removed the wall panels and replaced them with wall carpeting. The carpets of the theater floor, stage and green rooms were also replaced, updating the areas with a neutral carpet tile to place emphasis on the painted ceiling and stage area. The simple updates to the theatre, in addition to the overhaul of the lobby area, revamped the entire space, providing a modern area for guests to enjoy.