Zoomazium at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is a nature based play space and the first U.S. zoo project to earn Gold LEED certification. All 5,500 square feet of it needed to be visually stunning, educational and completely original. Working closely with the dedicated professionals at Woodland Park Zoo, our job was to help tell the story they wanted to relate by creating unique, extremely realistic play structures that look and feel like real rock, bark and foliage while also being safe and built to last.
Starting with the twenty-two foot tall strangler fig tree, which incorporates a slide and viewing area as well as five tons of steel and epoxy, we approached each element from the perspective of how a child experiences nature. Sculpted concrete rocks and logs that serve as railings and a rope bridge all make use of natural colors and textures while concealing the structural steel, cables and video and lighting components built within.
When building a mountain top indoors it’s important to always maintain good footing, which is why we built highly detailed working models of all the major components for Zoomazium. This not only allowed us to show the client exactly where each rock and log would go, but also broke apart to serve as three-dimensional guides from which we could make important engineering decisions. Making changes on a small scale, be they aesthetic or structural, that can later be incorporated into the final shop drawings is an efficient way to avoid missteps later on.