The African Aviary, Lemur Exhibit at Zoo Atlanta project is a "tree house" creating an environment where visitors and inhabitants co-mingle within the vivarium space. The faux tree, made of concrete, and created for the tree house was built to appear as though the second floor loft was built into it. In reality, the tree was built well after the loft was finished. To minimize the impact of the HVAC system being seen and disturbing the appearance of the tree house, the branches and knots on the trees are actually the ductworks, diffusers and return grilles. Several of the tree knots also serve as access points for the electrical boxes to keep these out of site.
The interior of the building was updated and air conditioning was added to provide additional comfort for visitors and residents. The ductwork for the HVAC runs along the trunk and branches of the faux tree that is the centerpiece for the tree house. Artisans carving out the main tree trunk and branches worked closely with the team. Diffusers are disguised as “knots” in the tree and distribute air throughout the facility.
Designers created an up-close and personal feel by designing the roof to allow the birds to fly with the visitors. A new fully covered boardwalk was built to allow the general public to enter and have one on one contact with the birds on display. New fully galvanized mesh was installed to replace the outdated existing mesh which allowed for a fully enclosed bird aviary and separate lemur display caging.
Holder Construction worked closely with the Zoo and the Exhibit Keepers to make sure that the design intent was met and that all requirements for the safety and health of the animals was maintained at all times during construction. Before construction of this project began, it went through months of review by the City of Atlanta planners, zoning committee and parks and recreation to make sure that we were replacing any trees that were lost due to construction with an equal amount of tree sq footage (e.g. removal of a 6" diameter trunk required replacement with 3 - 2" diameter trees of a like species).