The Syncrude Environment Gallery is an interactive tour de force. 3DS was commissioned to build all exhibits, with design by AldrichPears Associates and AV content by NGX Interactive. The exhibit gallery boasts twenty-seven stations with fully interactive science exhibits, all engagingly hands-on and driving deep into Alberta’s fascinating natural history. In this graphics-intensive space, great care was taken to ensure that all materials reinforce the core message of sustainability. 3DS printed display panels directly onto recycled sheet materials and high tensile strength cardboard matrix panels. The gallery is divided into four sections, covering ice, water, the oil sands, ecosystems and weather phenomena. Kids can push their fingers into a miniature tornado and watch its behaviour change. They can slide a giant magnifying glass over the rings of a slice from a majestic Douglas Fir tree and track its thousand-year history. A series of models show Earth’s various stages in history, explaining plate tectonics and dividing supercontinents. Kids can see an enormous Pine Beetle and learn of the damage the insect has done to the forests. They can examine a simulated Arctic ice core through a sliding monitor that shows changing information, relative to its position over the core, then stand in front of the real thing, only a few feet away.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a giant suspended Earth. It’s surface swirls and changes, demonstrating ever-changing meteorological conditions and macro-climate conditions. This incredible effect is achieved through a matrix of precisely coordinated projectors, beaming video content onto the stationary globe, with brilliantly dramatic effect. Any possible scenario, from hurricanes to global warming, can be shown in full motion.