Dream Facility 2005

The Counsilman Hunsaker Dream Facility is a collaboration of the entire company.
Aquatics International magazine, 2005 Dream Facilities edition

The Counsilman Hunsaker “Dream Team” is comprised of team members with diversified design expertise, proficient in the state-of-the-art development of competition pools, indoor and outdoor water parks, as well as, therapy/wellness pools.

How is a dream facility turned into reality? Answer: positive cash flow. The law of gravity explains why falling, flowing and cascading water runs downhill and the law of economics explains why enterprises succeed with sustainability. Regardless of the size of an undertaking, the same factors are required for success.

A robust and successful center of water attractions must have a dependable source of income. The nature of such water based entertainment, training and service attractions almost always requires some form of subsidization. The dream facility illustrated and described on these pages combines creative thinking in design and in viability. The world’s largest indoor water park with other venues for competitive water sports, health and fitness must have a built-in cash support system. By surrounding the aquatic center atrium with a commercial building, a portion of which extends 20 stories above the 40-story glass dome over the water park, the mechanism for financially subsidizing the recreation enterprise is set in motion.

The 40-story transparent cylinder of glass, encloses a fascinating rainforest, stone formations, hanging gardens, horsetail water falls, endless rivers, wave pools, activity pools, water slides of many sizes, grottos, whirlpools, intermittent rainstorms, a submarine and a ferry boat. It is synthesized by a multitude of water features and colored lights. This magical space includes cliff diving, energized water attractions and a hideaway beach with dry side areas including snack bars; sit down cafeteria and an arcade with games of skill.

As cultures begin to understand the value of fitness over a lifetime, the demand continues for healthy exercise. To meet this demand, the multi-floor fitness center emphasizes aquatic therapy and training along with dry side aerobic activities. Pools and whirlpools of different temperatures provide therapeutic treatments as desired.

This dream recreation center meets the test of feasibility through the dynamics of the multi-use community aquatic asset and the commercial real estate complex featuring a 900-room hotel, a high-rise office building and a vertical retail magnet of retail department stores. All have visual interaction with the excitement of people enjoying the centuries old pleasures of moving water. This complex has the benefit of a proven concept i.e. a landmark building with a unique view, like Rockefeller Center Plaza. Recycling energy reduces the operating costs of the aquatic center and provides cooling between the pools and the building. All remaining costs are paid as part of the rent of the commercial spaces. This underwriting by the building owner combined with revenues from user fees will provide the cash support for the water-based atrium, the international class training facility and a wet side and dry side fitness center.

The view of tenants, guests and customers in the 40-story contiguous spaces with the water park will provide an exciting panorama of 30-story high serpentine high speed slides, lagoons and bright swim costumes in motion, colorful landscapes and social economic interaction with offices and retail levels. This creates a visual stimulation that will be premium value for all of the commercial space in the building that overlooks the excitement that is unlike any other. Located in an Asian megatropolis of ten million people with a culture that participates in public activities of all types, regardless of numbers, the unique features and scale of the complex are consistent with existing smaller but similar attractions in the Far East.

Site location in the population center is relevant but flexible. Constructed with a below ground parking garage plus a metro station for mass transit, the venue encourages access in a densely populated urban fabric. The second aquatic asset, though in a different dimension, is the four-floor health and fitness center, serving guests in the hotel, as well as workers in the offices and regular customers of the retail stores and shops. This vertical specialty will provide tenant amenities for developing a health-based lifestyle; with 20% of the health center dedicated to physical therapy, both wet and dry, it serves the special needs of individuals with chronic disabilities and post surgical needs. The other 80% will have fitness programs for all ages. Glass elevators with an exhilarating view provide vertical translation for the fitness center, health spas and medical offices in the health wing of the building. Similar elevators provide vertical movement for the office building and the retail stores.

The mega water garden in a community of millions, will attract talented young athletes to the third asset which is a world class training facility for the four Olympic sports, i.e. swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming; with programs for different age groups to international class athletes. Applied technology will feature pace clocks built into the pool floor at each end of each lane to stimulate the performance of each swimmer in practice. Movable floors in one of the 50-meter pools will be used for recreation and instruction when training is not underway. The second 50-meter tank will convert to a wave pool for recreation.

The fourth quadrant of the glass enclosed water park is an exposed 40-story glass “window” facing the street. People walking or driving by may peer into the atrium, which will further promote the unique and dramatic interior core. Likewise, office workers and customers in the retail component of the building will be able to see through the vertical planes of glass and onto the streets and sidewalks as well as to the buildings beyond to maintain a connection with the outdoors.

Many dream facilities have set out on tranquil seas in bright sunshine only to capsize under the rough waters of financial storms. Why do so many commercial projects fail and municipal facilities struggle with under funding? It is usually the simple fact that there is no fiscal center of gravity. Like all enterprises, whether public or commercial, the cash flow must reflect more revenue than expenses. History shows that many stand-alone water parks suffer from inadequate revenues to offset annually rising operating costs. By following the enterprise plan outlined above, the aquatic center will have value as a visual attraction and as an identifiable landmark; justifying financial support from the strong commercial base wrapped around this cylinder of excitement and beauty.