Birdair Inc. Amherst, NY

Project Details

Fabric 1

Sheerfill II
Producer: Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp.

Fabric 2

Précontraint 492 Mesh
Producer: Ferrari S.A.

Engineer Company 1
URS Design

Design Company
URS Design

Architect Company
URS Design

Fabrication Company
Birdair, Inc.

Subcontractor Company
Birdair, Inc.

Graphics Company

Project Manager Company
Birdair, Inc.

Installation Company
Birdair, Inc.

Please describe the project specifications

To design, fabricate, supply and install a new plaza entry ‘cloud’ structure for the zoo, totaling 38,000 square feet of PTFE membrane and PVC Mesh, at the Miami Zoo in Miami, FL.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?

While architecture firm URS Design and general contractor PCL Construction were working to complete the Front Entry Plaza project, they realized during the planning process that 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. The new plaza includes a special “cloud” structure that encircles 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.

What is unique or complex about the project?

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 overall project was a very steel intensive job which required detailed precision for a successful installation in the field. The new plaza will amaze visitors with charming creature art and unique design elements. The Front Entry comes 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.

What were the results of the project?

As a result, the curving forms that are created from using tensile membrane will provide a dramatic and signature look to the Zoo’s entrance for all people to see. Over all, the new Front Entry Plaza will be a great addition to the entire zoo, and tensile cloud is an integral part of that design, helping to create an iconic look that zoo guests—both young and old—will enjoy.

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