The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal City

Owner, Lead Designer Universal Studios Hollywood
Contractor PCL Construction Services Inc.
Civil, Structural and MEP Engineer Atkins
Subcontractor KHS&S Contractors

To create the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the project team not only had to carefully plan out every step of the design and construction, but they also had to have fun doing it.

Painstakingly true to the Harry Potter movies and books, the project consists of a main castle with accompanying structures that spill out at every angle except right ones. To recreate the Wizarding World, the team used traditional and nontraditional methods. They were tasked with constructing multiple buildings that had to look more than 300 years old—aged with weather-beaten stone, plaster, metal and wood finishes.

The project team’s master craftspeople created the worn-looking facades by using various finish techniques including plaster, EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems), and a myriad of paint and paint appliques. The effort also included installing more than 30,000 elements consisting of real and faux wood, fiberglass reinforced plastic, glass fiber reinforced concrete, millwork, windows and window treatments.

One innovation was subcontractor KHS&S’ use of off-site prefabrication for nearly 100 dormers, accomplished with the help of BIM modeling and 3D coordination. Any flaws in fabrication or on-site framing meant the dormer would not fit and would need to be field adjusted, delaying the project schedule and increasing costs.

By prefabricating the dormers, the team gained flexibility in the schedule, which meant less chance of impacts from delays or from other trades on the jobsite. With the project consisting of seven different structures, the prefab work also allowed crews to easily transition among buildings with minimal or no downtime.

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