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Architect Principal (Concept)


"We create happiness.” That’s our motto at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. And it permeates everything we do. At Disney, you’ll help inspire that magic by enabling our teams to push the limits of entertainment and create the never-before-seen!
Walt Disney Imagineering is the master planning, creative development, design, engineering, production, project management, and research and development arm of The Walt Disney Company. Its talented corps of Imagineers is responsible for the creation - from concept initiation through installation - of all Disney Resorts, theme parks and attractions, real estate developments, regional entertainment venues, and new media projects.
We are seeking an Architect Principal for the Architectural Design Studio (ADS) within ED&E (Environmental Design and Engineering) at WDI. This Architect Principal will lead large teams and possess extraordinary conceptual design talents, ideally with a foundation of entertainment design, visitor destination or other similarly complex project experience. The Architectural Design Studio possess a wide range of talents that strive to imagine and create a powerful sense of place, an experiential environment that transports our guests to another place and time and emotionally connects them to our stories and our brand. Our ADS team of approximately 60 core staff works within a highly collaborative environment involving 1,400 plus Imagineers to co-create the best in family entertainment for the enjoyment of our guests across our seven global destination resorts from Hong Kong, Florida, California, Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris and Hawaii.
The ADS’s broad spectrum of skillsets allows us to inhabit the worlds of both ideation and delivery. We are broad conceptual thinkers that can conceive of grand master plans or brainstorm individual attractions. We paint and draw by hand as well as employ cutting edge technology. We understand scale, proportion, space and stylistic vocabulary. We have amazing 3-D visualization tools. We can translate preliminary art into detailed program needs and iterate creative options that consider both on-stage and back of house. We have experience designing inside and outside the theme park berm from attractions to resorts to theaters, restaurants, hotels, retail and offices. We understand budget and schedule and coordinate the impacts of show, ride, entertainment and all engineering disciplines, specialty design and merchandise, food, transportation ,all in consideration of codes and safety requirements and including all operational and maintenance requirements. We know how to specify materials and how to detail and construct environments that can stand the test of time, including our resorts’ varied global climatic considerations. We can art direct, manage outside talent and get things produced in the field. We respect and are inspired by our cultural partners and often live and work side by side both stateside and in the field. We are the orchestra leaders of this very complicated process of delivery.
ResponsibilitiesAn Architect Principal in a Concept Design role, is generally responsible for collaborating with the Creative Studio (storyline/artwork/concept) on projects that might encompass entire park master plans to discrete facility development including attractions, restaurants, theaters, retail, mixed-use and resort hotels in any of Disney’s global locations. The Concept Designer might be called upon to work on projects that require either design or advanced technical specialty from early Blue Sky through project execution, directing either in-house or external consultant teams. Depending on skillsets and team makeup, the Architect Principal/Facility Designer Principal in a Concept role, might be sole lead or work in partnership with a technically oriented partner. Further detailed responsibilities might include the following tasks:

  • Interface and communicate with the Creative art director and project Design Manager for design and implementation aspects of assigned projects; lead implementation of design intent as a member of the project design team and support adherence to established project strategies, schedules and budgets.
  • Provide comprehensive area development leadership and development of design intent in partnership with Creative division leadership. Support the project under the leadership of the Design Manager, in collaboration with allied ED&E disciplines, Creative, Show/Ride, Design & Production and Operating partners.
  • Primary responsibility for coordination and communication of facility design issues; support implementation of project goals and objectives through specific problem-solving and development of design solutions.
  • Ensure adherence to department/divisional Standards of Practice and support development of architectural specifications from a design viewpoint. Answer construction bid period questions and respond to and resolve field issues and questions in support of creative decisions.
  • Establish quality assurance and organization of design packages; guide and monitor facility design team’s work efforts. Monitor performance against the project design schedule, budget and earned value along with the leadership of the Project Architect.
  • Potentially develop scopes of work, architecture soft cost design estimates and resource plans and potentially manage contracts.
  • Provide design and administrative direction to in-house architects and designers, and to outside consultants in the production of construction and contract documents.
  • Provide leadership and potentially design direction during the project construction phase while instructing/coordinating with the Project Management and Construction Management teams.
  • Provide design direction to in-house architects/designers, and to outside consultants in the production of construction contract documents.
  • Perform peer reviews of work products of other department staff in support of design issues.

Basic Qualifications

  • Minimum 12 years’ experience in an architectural design field, including at least five years managing a team of Architects and designers from early design and ideally through the production of contract documents for construction.
  • Capable of leading complex projects and teams and working independently without supervision.
  • Excellent design and competent technical proficiency.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills, excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in hand drawing and/or CADD, 3D AutoCAD, Rhino, Sketchup, Revit and Navisworks or ability to direct others in developing design ideas with these tools.
  • Competency with area development related design knowledge, in addition to architecture in land planning, civil engineering, site lighting, graphic design etc.
  • Working knowledge of Excel, Word and Adobe Suite.
  • Competency in knowledge of construction techniques and construction phase experience including the submittal/shop drawing review process and on-site field inspections

Preferred Qualifications

  • 20 years’ experience in architectural design field plus at least five years managing a team of Architects and designers from early design and ideally through the production of contract documents for construction.
  • Knowledge of Disney theme park area development history, storytelling, principles, goals and objectives.
  • Entertainment design, visitor destination or other similarly complex project history or past Disney employment.

Required Education

  • A BA/BArch degree from an accredited program
  • U.S. Professional License credential or without license can be considered for Principal Facility Designer role

Preferred Education

  • An advanced degree in Architecture, Landscape, Entertainment or Urban Planning is desirable
  • Membership in one or more professional organizations such as American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute, Construction Specifications Institute, or U.S. Green Building Council, is desirable

Company Overview To learn about the innovative work our Imagineers do, check out the following videos:
Humanoid Robot Additional Information©Disney is an equal opportunity employer. Drawing Creativity from Diversity.

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