Commercial interior design often becomes routine, with little opportunity to employ really creative design concepts.
The usual restrictive budget and the typical use of commercial office space leave the designer to select the finishes, provide the furniture layout for the space and find a suitable conference table to reflect the character of the business.
So when Kelli Berry, owner of and principal designer for Iconic Design Studio (IDS) in Phoenix got the assignment to design the interior of Rally Point Alpha, her creative juices really began to flow. She saw the potential to create something unique and extraordinary. Her motivation was not just a professional one; it was a personal one as well.
Rally Point Alpha will be a 100,000 SF indoor training and education facility for law enforcement and correction officers, as well as selected military personnel. Two sites in are under consideration in north Metro Phoenix area for the project.
The facility will house classrooms and space that will employ the latest in virtual technology to simulate everything from hostage rescue, prison riots and crowd control to encounters with insurgents. The facility also will have both live and virtual firing ranges and a heliport to practice aerial insertions with Blackhawk helicopters. The state-of-the-art training facility will be the first, and only one, of its kind in the nation.
“We are fortunate to have been chosen to design the interior of Rally Point Alpha,” Berry said. “It’s a wonderful project because I’ve been able to use some ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking to create the design, especially for the public areas of the facility – the restaurant, the retail space and the Memorial Hall.”
The facility will house a Memorial Hall featuring a wall that will be a tribute to all Arizona law enforcement officers, correctional officers and military personnel killed in the line of duty. The spacious hall will be 20 feet wide and 26 feet tall.
“The translucent resin memorial will be formed in a curve so the wall cantilevers out and over to embrace and surround the viewers and wrap them in a symbolic cloak of protection, in the same way our protectors in the military and law enforcement do for citizens every day,” Berry said. “The chandeliers are designed to resemble sabers and are a nod to the pride our protectors take in their service to the community and the nation.”
Visitors will be able to walk up to the glass, interactive digital displays on the starred memorial wall and enter the name of the fallen individual who served Arizona in law enforcement, corrections or the military and a respective star on the wall will light up. A biography of the person will be displayed on the screen.
The wall will be back lit with fiber optic lighting making the entire space glow. The hall will have etched glass panels inscribed with poetry and oversized graphics that evoke a sense of gratitude and respect for those who gave their lives protecting others.
IDS is also responsible for designing the restaurant and the retail space. The 12,000 SF retail space within the facility will offer the latest tactical and survival gear available for purchase by trainees and the public.
The merchandise will be displayed in customized, mobile store fixtures designed by IDS. Interactive information kiosks scattered throughout the store are planned to enhance the buying experience. The retail space also will have emphatic lighting, free standing, laser-cut metal walls, and glowing point-of-purchase displays.
While the training areas will not be open to the public, the Memorial Hall, restaurant and retail space will welcome everyone. The revenue generated from the restaurant and retail operation is expected to allow the training and educational sessions to remain affordable for the professionals who will train there.
The Memorial Hall design hopes to touch the hearts of the visitors and remind them of the duty, honor, sacrifice and loss portrayed by each star on the wall, Berry said. The hall is designed to create an atmosphere of respect, reverence and gratitude for all those willing to go into harms way to protect others.
The IDS team was a perfect choice for the Rally Point Alpha assignment — Berry’s son, Glenn, currently serves as an Apache helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army and has been deployed in combat.
She gets it, as any wife or mother of a protector gets it — training is critical to survival. So it is not surprising to see the level of passion she has brought to the project. With the help of facilities like Rally Point Alpha, she hopes her son, and others protecting the community and nation, will always be well trained enough never to become a star on a wall.
The architect is BCMA Architects and the general contractor is Bjerk Builders. Construction of Rally Point Alpha is expected to begin in 3Q 2013.
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