North Kingstown native Nicholas Hammond made a childhood dream come true when he was invited to the headquarters of Walt Disney Imagineering, and took home first prize in a creative design contest.
A senior at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, where he studies architecture, Hammond and three classmates entered the annual Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition last fall.
Imagineering, a portmanteau of imagination and engineering, is Disney’s word to describe the process of designing and building its theme park attractions.
The annual design competition tasks students nationwide with designing a unique and original theme park attraction. This year, the competition required teams to create an experience that explores a Natural or Ancient Wonder of the World.
Hammond, along with teammates Remi Jeffrey-Coker, Carolyn Teves, and Ezekiel Waters won first place for their submission, The Rose of Babylon, a botanical inquisitorium for people of all ages and a modern re-imagining of the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The experience is punctuated by the miraculous Hanging Gardens where guests can bask in the glory of agriculture from around the world and actively contribute to the spread of resources and the growth of new life.
The finalist teams received an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney Imagineering in California from Feb. 4 to 8 to present their project to Imagineering executives, meet and network with Imagineers, go behind-the-scenes to see how Disney magic is created, and interview for paid internships.
In a recent interview, Hammond said he has wanted to work for Disney since he was in the second grade — and now he’s a big step closer to that goal. He said he’ll continue to wear his passion on his sleeve.
“If you want that idea to really grow and thrive, you have to be passionate and let that passion show from the outside,” he says. “It doesn’t matter who is watching and seeing, you just have to know who you are through and through, and where you want to go,”