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June 29, 2017
The Turner project team managing construction of the Bicentennial Pavilion at the Indianapolis Zoo—home of the already-famous exhibit “Magnificent Macaws”—recently celebrated the grand opening of theunique, indoor-outdoor facility.
With a 270-day schedule and 30 days lost to record-setting rainfalls, the team rallied together to deliver on its promise to complete work in time for Indiana’s largest and most-anticipated black-tie fundraiser event.
“It has been a pleasure to partner once again with our friends at the Indy Zoo,” said Nick Waters, project manager. “As with each of the dozen or so projects we’ve completed together, we are incredibly proud of our work on the Bicentennial Pavilion. And we appreciate the trust the zoo continues to place in us as we work to realize their vision, bringing new and exciting exhibits to animal and science lovers of all ages.” He continued, reflecting broadly on the challenges and features of the project, including the enormous structural wood elements that make up the ceiling of the pavilion. “Unique to this project are the 44 glulam loads, eleven of which are greater than 90 feet in length,” he said. “Installing these enormous structures immediately adjacent to the zoo’s entrance plaza required significant logistical planning.”
The north side of the pavilion is where the colorful and free-flying Magnificent Macaws “drop jaws,” in the words of the Indy Star, a local paper. The exhibit showcases multiple flocks of free-flying (carefully trained!) colorful, omnivorous birds native to Central and South America. The south side of the pavilion is designed to host a variety of public and private events, such as the zoo’s summer concert series and other after-hours activities. The large, versatile space is easily transformed from one large area that accommodates 800 people, to two, smaller spaces for hosting simultaneous events.
With a wide variety of natural materials featured prominently, as well as lush trees and plants, the pavilion creates an airy, bright visitor experience. “The architecture of the pavilion gives you the feeling of being under a forest canopy," said Carla Knapp, a spokeswoman for the zoo, describing the large perforated metal structures, screens, and skylights. "Having the birds as part of the new programming with the Bicentennial Pavilion fits right in with that theme."