March 2012 – Bloomington, Minn. – Just in time for spring, Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe recently celebrated the official grand opening of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell Shock ride. Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates served as the architect of record and provided broad structural engineering services for the project.

Designed and manufactured by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH, the interactive ride is a first-ever of its kind in the United States, giving guests the ability to control their experience from take off to landing.  It takes riders 70 feet into the air in a matter of seconds and reaches speeds up to 25 mph. 12 single bucket seats at the end of a cantilevered arm rotate around a central tower, with each seat having the ability to – at the rider’s command – perform a number of eye-popping motions… from wild rotation to gentle teeter-tottering. No two experiences are ever the same.

KOMA was part of a dynamic and highly collaborative team that helped bring the project concept to life. Mall of America provided overall management of the project, while Nickelodeon handled much of the necessary concept and character development, as well as the branding and theming of the ride.

KOMA filled two roles on the project, acting as the architect of record as well as providing broad structural engineering services. KOMA architects assisted in the 3D spatial coordination for the ride safety envelope and the entry portal, chose the materials and products to carry out the theming requirements, and developed the ride’s queuing areas and accessibility features.

KOMA structural engineers designed the foundation systems for the ride and reviewed the design of the skeleton for the new entry portal. 

Other partners included Tivoli Too who handled construction and installation of all theming systems and character sculptures. The general contractor, PCL Construction – a longtime partner of KOMA – was responsible for managing an extraordinarily tight time schedule and ultimately ensuring client approval.

Steve Iaria, KOMA’s lead architect on the project, said, “This was a really enjoyable assignment for our team. The many parties involved worked closely together in a highly collaborative manner to execute a challenging project in a short time frame.”

Iaria continued, “With a project of this complexity, it’s essential that the various elements come together in a highly coordinated fashion… both from an aesthetics standpoint, as well as a functional standpoint. Our team here at KOMA – our architects and engineers – worked extraordinarily closely with the other parties to ensure that the final product met the initial vision. We’re really pleased with the results.”

KOMA structural engineer Matt Van Hoof, PE, echoed Iaria’s sentiments, citing the high degree of collaboration as essential to the project. “We were all pulling in the same direction, and we placed a premium on open communication,” he said. “This was a highly creative project with highly creative people involved, and we all made sure we maintained focus on the big picture, even while giving the necessary attention to the details.”

To help promote the occasion, MOA and Nickelodeon Universe attempted to break the Guinness World Records mark for the largest gathering of ninja turtles. The previous mark stood at 786 individuals dressed up as ninja turtles, while the MOA/Nickelodeon Universe event brought in 836 to claim the new record.