Going to the zoo can be the experience of a lifetime. Guests to Zoo Miami, also known as The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, will long be talking about their visit after the new Front Entry Plaza is completed. The new plaza includes a special “cloud” structure that will encircle the plaza from above, treating visitors to an awesome light show that is especially mesmerizing at nighttime. This free form steel structure is wrapped with approximately 38,000 square feet of Birdair’s PTFE fiberglass on both the top side and façade and with PVC mesh on the underside of the cloud, supported by tree-like columns.
Pretty as a Peacock (or Flamingo)
The new plaza will amaze visitors with charming creature art and unique design elements. The Front Entry will come to life with artistic and visual signature features, including an Art in Public Places installation and a 100-foot tower with animal silhouettes and video screens.
The new Front Entry Plaza will also include a brand new gift shop and café, a multi-purpose event space and guest relations. And for the first time, an animal exhibit will be located outside of the gate, featuring the beautiful pink flamingos in a pond under the “cloud” structure. The splendor and state-of-the-art design of the new Front Entry Plaza will set the tone for visitors, adding a special artistic touch to the Florida project.
Architecture firm URS Design and general contractor PCL Construction are working to complete the Front Entry Plaza project. During the planning process they realized they needed something special to make the Front Entry Plaza beautiful and unique, something which would provide sunlight while offering weather protection for zoo guests. They turned to Birdair, the expert on custom tensile structures, to help with the overall design of the tensile cloud. As a result, Birdair will be designing, fabricating, supplying and installing PTFE fiberglass membrane, clamping and the structural supporting steel.
The lightweight membrane also provides a cost-effective solution requiring less structural steel to support the roof or façade, and enabling long spans of column-free space. In addition, membrane offers building owners reduced construction costs and maintenance costs compared to traditional building materials.