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DCD Design Cost Data

Penguin Chill Exhibit, ABQ BioPark

Van H. Gilbert Architect P.C.

Posted: May 7, 2020 | Projects

The Penguin Chill Exhibit at the ABQ BioPark is the new home to 32 penguins from several species, including the King, Macaroni, and Gentoo.

Photo Courtesy of mattphoto Photography

The 14,550-square-foot building houses a 75,590-gallon tank with water depths varying from five to twelve feet, and features both aboveground and underwater viewing areas.  

The expansive tank allows the penguins to feed, swim, and relax in a habitat that recalls their natural environment. A hand-crafted rocky shoreline, air temp at a chilly 45 degrees, and falling snow emulate Antarctic conditions. The entire exhibit processes light from day to night, and uses seasonal lighting cycles to help regulate the penguins’ hormonal balancing and breeding functions.

As visitors follow the exhibit’s circulation pathway about the structure, they encounter multiple, interactive educational activities. The first, a replica of a research vessel, creates the feeling of being on an oceangoing ship. Video of the ship’s bow cutting through the waves reinforces the impression of being at sea. Interactive touch screens inside the vessel guide the visitor in learning about the different penguin species found in the southern hemisphere, and the environmental factors that impact them. Among the interactive educational components scattered throughout the exhibit are “Ice Breaker” games, allowing multiple, hands-on, learning  experiences, and a selfie station for photos with the penguins.

The third exhibit area is the underwater viewing room, the Ice Cave, where visitors can step into a 10-foot-high view bubble that allows the visitor to be in the exhibit, surrounded by water and swimming penguins. A ceiling lighting system fluidly changes colors to reflect the Aurora Australis (also known as the Southern Lights).

Visitors needing refuge from the chilly climate can step onto the outdoor, multi-function, deck, which provides an overlook of the zoo’s park setting and nearby animal exhibits. 
The design team’s approach to this facility treated the exterior as an art installation with a stylistic iceberg-like façade, while the interior imitates the Antarctic environment familiar to the penguins.

Designed to focus on the well-being of the animals and encourage natural behaviors, the exhibit features a variety of high and low rock outcroppings for enrichment activities, and nooks for resting or nesting. Support space for the keepers is organized for ease and safety of access to the animals, with areas for health care, feeding prep, and quarantine.  The life support system cycles water through sand filters with a water turnover rate every 30–60 minutes.  

The Penguin Chill Exhibit is the most recent of VHGA’s ABQ BioPark exhibits, which include the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Bird of Prey Exhibit, and Bandshell and Lake.
Building Envelope: Dow Insulation, USG Gypsum, Stego Vapor Barrier, Densdeck
Roofing: Carlisle
Windows: Arcadia
Flooring: Daltile, Florock Polymer, Mannington
Interior: Crego Block
Lighting: Failsafe, Metalux, Portolio, J&J Electronics, Vista, LDPI, Halo
Lift: Garaventa Lift Vehicle Platform 

Van H. Gilbert Architect P.C.
2428 Baylor Drive, S.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Structural Engineer 
Chavez-Grieves Consulting Engineers, Inc.
4700 Lincoln Road, N.E., #102
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers
4600C Montgomery Boulevard, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Civil Engineer
Isaacson & Arfman Consulting Engineering Associates
128 Monroe Street, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87108

General Contractor
H.B. Construction
3010 Monte Vista Boulevard, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Cost Estimator
CRM Cost Consulting, Inc.
6120 87th Street
Lubbock, TX 79424

Date Bid: Jan 2017
Construction Period: Mar 2017 to May 2019          
Total Square Feet: 16,512
Site: 64 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.

Building Sizes: First floor, 16,512; total, 16,512 square feet.  
Building Height: First floor, 29′; total, 29′.  
Basic Construction Type: New/II B.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, pier & grade beam, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade. 
Exterior Walls: CMU.
Roof: Membrane. 
Floors: Concrete. 
Interior Walls: CMU.

Click here to view the full cost details for this project in the May/June 2020 issue of DCD