As Disney developed a new town in Florida, after commissioning Michael Bierut to design a town identity and graphics, they chose us to design a temporary real estate sales center. The building, façades surrounding four ready-made leased trailers, is in a prominent field near the town entrance. Sited across the main road from an office block designed by Aldo Rossi, and very visible from the main road, Biber Architects designed the building to be a combination gateway and billboard.
The irony was that the preview center had nothing to preview. The town infrastructure was nearly complete, but there were no homes to inspect. This would be true for the 18 month life of the temporary center, and we recommended strongly that the building demonstrate the dream of Celebration; the image even more than the reality. Our solution was to create a "mirage" of homes, an illusion that could inform and entertain.
The trailers are surrounded by full-size enlargements of watercolor renderings of some typical Celebration home styles. The life-sized drawings are mounted on billboards cut to the profile of the buildings and stand in real 3-dimensional front yards, complete with grass, fences, bicycles, mailboxes, sidewalks and street lights. The visitor can experience the real scale and feel of the homes in a delightful, almost storybook fashion. The entrance to the Preview Center is through the Colonial façade; the Coastal façade, front porch and yard form the children's play area, and the Victorian façade acts as a gate house on the access road to Celebration.
The interior has been treated as an unfinished house interior, a work-in-progress, complete with exposed wood stud walls, rooms defined with doors and open walls, and a floor painted with a blueprint of the actual project design.