Inside Architects of Air: How it all Comes TogetherMarch 17, 2014
by Ashley Roberts Over the next few days, we will continue to experience the long-awaited return of Architects of Air! Miracoco, Architects of Air’s new luminarium, is truly amazing. For the inside scoop on how everything comes together, we spoke with Discovery Green’s event coordinator, Jenni Bowman, who actually had the pleasure of traveling with Architects of Air while living in New York last year.
Q: Jenni, how did you first discover Architects of Air?
A: I was working at the Barbican Centre in London with Shanti Freed, one of the exhibition managers currently in Houston. Architects of Air was looking for an exhibit manager in America, and she thought I might be a good fit, given my background.
Q: How did you decide to become a part of the company and what did you do specifically for them?
A: As a freelancer in New York, I was constantly looking for exciting, new gigs. Architects of Air doesn't get more exciting! I was an exhibition manager. I got to travel, work with a variety of amazing people all over the country, work outdoors, and facilitate the install of these beautiful luminaries!
Q: Could you give a few examples of what goes into putting Architects of Air together? Can you give us any interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits?
A: Much of the setup is dependent on the site. Are we installing on asphalt, tall grass, sand, dirt, etc.? Once that is determined, then the structures' exact location is determined and a ground plan is circulated. Then we figure out staffing: who are the stewards, and depending on which country we're in, do we speak the same language? Once we arrive on-site and we've done 10+ hours of manual labor, we're starving and it's all about finding the best, local spot for dinner. Those are just the basics— of course, there are a million emails, and many more conversations on sorting out logistics, freight and financials.
Q: You visited Discovery Green in 2013 as part of your tour with Architects of Air, and now you work here! What about your short time at Discovery Green last year made you consider taking a full-time job here?
A: I grew up in Katy, and my family was always looking for free and affordable ways to get out of the house and enjoy Houston. I hadn't yet seen Discovery Green until we arrived for Architects of Air last year and was blown away with how absolutely beautiful and accessible it is. There is something for everyone here; chill grassy lawns, modern playgrounds, an interactive water fountain, a stage with a very attractive season lineup, plus the native grasses, pond and sculptures. My heart melted!
Q: Now you get to work with Architects of Air at Discovery Green for a second year, but this time as a Discovery Green employee! How will your role in producing the event be different this time around?
A: We love Architects of Air, and we love providing this experience to Houston. This year it's all about comfort! Comfort for the crew and staff, and comfort for our community that comes to the park. Architects of Air is happening at the same time as Houston Independent School District's spring break, so we're providing a variety of activities for families while they wait in line to get into Miracoco. There will be seating on our brand new deck for anyone who needs a rest while waiting. The line is on the deck in the shade of our live oaks. We realize it's a popular attraction and want to make every element of seeing Miracoco as pleasant as possible, including the wait!
Q: How would you describe Architects of Air to someone who knows nothing about it?
A: It’s like walking inside a giant inflatable balloon with all the colors and wonder of Islamic design, Gothic Cathedrals and geometric shapes found in nature.
Q: Why do you think Architects of Air is so captivating to people?
A: Its experience is for EVERYONE— young, old, big, small, wheelchairs or walkers. It's calming and surreal and beautiful. Once you're inside the sculpture, the experience is otherworldly. Get down here and check it out!
Architects of Air will be at Discovery Green until Sunday, March 23. You don't want to miss it! For hours of operation and ticket information, visit http://www.discoverygreen.com/architects-of-air.