Telling a Story through Themed Construction

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Themed Construction Stories

Artisans throughout history have shared stories through the creations they leave behind. Even today, architects and designers use specialty projects to educate us about the sciences, humanities and to remind us of our past.

It should come as no surprise that most of us are visual learners who absorb and recall information best by seeing. According to the Social Science Research Network 1., visual learners make up about 65% of the population.

Storytelling is also the foundation on which the best specialty construction projects are built. From the pyramids in Egypt to the Vatican in Rome, these structures can create an experience that surpasses time.

Each of us is carving a stone, erecting a column, or cutting a piece of stained glass in the construction of something much bigger than ourselves.
Adrienne Clarkson

Today, themed construction artisans continue to build structures that tell stories connecting audiences to both past and present.


themed construction

There is a new story to experience at the Detroit Zoo’s Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

Here, children get to experience first hand what penguins are like in their natural habitat. They also get to see and feel what it was like to be one of the first explorers to discover them.

The habitat was created to be as close as possible to the penguin’s Antarctic and Subantarctic environment. The exhibit includes construction of artificial rockwork, ice and glaciers in the penguin habitat and “dry-side” theming in the visitor galleries. Also included are artificial mussels, barnacles and kelp that enhance the habitat’s realism.

Thanks to the imagination and execution of themed construction, children now have access to an educational experience and a way for visitors to engage with a rare species in a new way.


themed construction

In Hallandale Beach, Florida, a 200 ft statue of Pegasus Fighting a Dragon tells the story of the battle over good and evil. The duel of mythical winged titans mesmerizes bystanders when the battle comes to life amidst choreographed displays of fire, water, fog, lights and music.

The winged stallion and a fire-breathing dragon is the second tallest statue in the United States behind only the Statue of Liberty. At 50 feet tall, 200 feet in length, and 115 feet wide, the Pegasus and Dragon is the largest bronze sculpture in the world. With over 210 thousand gallons of water, this state-of-the-art show fountain is the first of its kind.

Through the art of storytelling, the artisans at OTL created an experience that draws guests into a battle that was sparked at the dawn of time. From mythical tales to stories about our cultural heritage, themed construction carries the message and memory of past generations to future generations.


themed construction

Artisans used the layout and construction at the National Museum for the American Indian (NMAI) to educate visitors about Native American’s culture and their deep connection to the land. As part of the Smithsonian in Washington D.C, developers and the OTL team worked in harmony with the natural surroundings to create an organic wetland area with a pond and a formal architectural fountain that meanders around the museum’s curvilinear building.

The rocks used in the water feature remind us of the longevity of the American Indian’s relationship to the environment. They were each hand selected from a quarry in Canada. Before they were relocated, the Montagnais First Nations group blessed the boulders to ensure they would have a safe journey and to carry the message and cultural memory of past generations to future generations. When they arrived in Washington, D.C., they were blessed again.


Today’s themed construction artisans are creating structures that will tell our story to the next generations. By capturing a moment in time and creating a stunning visual representation, they are able to create an experience that will leave a life long impression for years to come.

If you would like to learn more about OTL’s expertise on building and designing themed attractions, contact OTL by email or by telephone at 714.637.4747

[1] Social Science Research Network  (SSRN)´s eLibrary provides 772,596 research papers from 359,819 researchers across 30 disciplines.

[2] A Visual Narrative (also visual storytelling) is a story told primarily through the use of visual media. The story may be told using still photography, illustration, or video, and can be enhanced with graphics, music, voice and other audio.