We are proud to announce that this week Total Habitat was awarded a Building Congress and Exchange Craftsmanship Award for our Exhibit work at the Baltimore Zoo! Using shotcrete (a type of concrete that is sprayed onto an armature then artistically carved/stamped and colored) we created a stream for the zoo's Marsh Aviary habitat.
Photo credit & info about other award winners:
In Progress: Mick & Dale finalizing the overall stream shape in preparation for shotcrete.
In Progress: Structure coat underway (structural concrete layer over rebar w/ shape roughed out). Next, will be "theme" coat (top layer of concrete that will be artistically carved/stamped).
In Progress: Stamped mud texture (left). Stream with "theme" coat applied and carving underway (right photo).
Check out these stunning pics of the animal habitats we created for the brand new Bugarium at the ABQ Biopark!
At the Bugarium, which is home to such spectacular specimens as tarantulas, centipedes, scorpions, giant katydids, naked mole rats, and giant roaches, we were tasked with the challenge of creating several distinct exhibits within one large open area. We created these exhibit areas-- Desert, Tropics (including a living wall, waterfall, and indoor pond), Ant Island w/ "Highway" Vine, and Nocturnal Forest/Riverbank-- to accommodate our "bug" residents and immerse visitors in their natural environments. Here are photos from the exhibit opening:
In the Tropical Area, we created a living wall that features a carved "rock" waterfall with boulder-edged pond below. Check out our project photo gallery for in-progress pics!
The Desert Area was designed to house desert floor dwellers like tarantulas, scorpions and Honeypot Ants. In order to display these specimens in an accessible way, we brought the desert floor up to the visitor and themed the display like an eroded desert ridge.
Entrance to the Nocturnal Forest
Nocturnal Forest in daylight (90% completed)...
Here in the Nocturnal Forest, we created an immersive experience for visitors, complete with a carved concrete buttressed tree and fallen log (which house the "bugs"), a leafy canopy above, and eery sounds of the forest at night which echo around the dimly lit space.
Nocturnal Riverbank in daylight (90% completed)...
In the second Nocturnal room, we created an eroded riverbank, complete with themed mud and tree roots, in order to bring our underground and rainforest floor specimens up to eye level. Here, visitors move through semi-darkness toward backlit displays cut into the side of the riverbank, while listening to the (sometimes eery) sounds of the rainforest at night.
Water-bug Area: Here we created space for the water-bug aquariums with visitor seating in between. We themed these bench seats like a muddy riverbank with roots poking through and a cracked mud texture on top.
Ant Island: On this octagonal island, we erected three 15ft trees (dead trees but with a silk leaves) surrounded by a mote, to house the Leaf Cutter Ants. We also created an artificial vine (kept moist for their comfort) that runs from the trees on this island to their home base on the other side of the room, allowing the ants to collect leaves from this island to bring back to the rest of the colony. So cool!
A close-up of the Leaf Cutter Ant "Highway" vine
Finally, using much of the same processes as our Natural Swimming Pool/Ponds, we created a pond for catfish and dragonflies at the entrance to the Bugarium.
Here is an underwater view of the pond (to the left you can see one of our built-in hiding places for future catfish) -- as always, crystal-clear water with no chemicals!
Check back with us each month for tips, new project pics, news, and more, here on our Total Blog!