Best Cultural: Contractors Build a Home for the Amphibious
Opened in April 2015, Zoo Atlanta’s Scaly Slimy Spectacular! includes a main amphibian and reptile exhibit, event space, Georgia river pond and playground. The 113,000-sq-ft exhibit environment was designed to house more than 70 different species of amphibians and reptiles within a fun, educational and aesthetically pleasing environment.
The main reptile and amphibian exhibit building features a sloped curtain wall glazing system with a custom frit pattern. The project team installed a total of 372 glass panels for the sloped curtain wall and exhibit glazing panels. The curtain wall rises 45 ft above the main gallery, giving the space the feel of a domed interior.
Segmented walls and intricate transitions are abundant. The sloped walkway through the building ends at an elevation 8 ft higher than at the start. Interior exhibit elements include a system of custom murals, replicated rockwork and life-support systems. In all, the facility features 65 separate animal habitats on display, aquatic tanks totaling 60,000 gallons of water and a 30-ft-tall waterfall in the alligator habitat.
Since active animal exhibits surrounded the project site, ordinary construction noise, ground vibration or other unfamiliar conditions could cause stress to the animals or agitate them and lead to injury. To address this concern, general contractor Winter Construction Co. intensified communication among the team members in order to avoid unintended disturbances.
Keeping the project on schedule was likewise crucial for the animals. To ensure that subcontractors remained on track with the building envelope’s numerous intricate elements—including the interior aquatic habitats, massive water tanks and custom rockwork—the contractor increased the frequency of briefings and provided weekly photo reports to the project team.
Scaly Slimy Spectacular! Amphibian and Reptile Experience at Zoo Atlanta
Owner Zoo Atlanta
Lead Design Firm Torre/Design Consortium
Contractor The Winter Johnson Group
Structural Engineer Delon Hampton & Associates
MEP Engineer Louah Design Group