Under Construction: Night Hunters X

This week, I was able to sneak into the construction site while our exhibits team was at work so I’ve got some action shots to share.

Within the building, we’re trying to blur the distinction between the animals and visitors by extending elements of some of the exhibits, particularly rockwork and trees, into the public space. It’s very cool to see these features take shape. It all starts by creating a framework using rebar.

Rebar framework
Rebar framework provides the foundation for the construction of the aardvark den.

Next, a plastic lath (mesh) is wrapped around the rebar frame, held together by wire, as Jessica is doing here.

Jessica creates a tree frame.
Jessica creates the framework for what will become a fabricated tree in the vampire bat exhibit.
Jessica cuts a wire.
Jessica cuts a wire holding together lath around a rebar frame.

Once the rebar and lath are in place, you can really start to visualize the trees, rocks, and so forth that they will become.

Vampire bat cave wall
This is the rebar and lath foundation on which the vampire bat cave wall will be constructed.

Before any of this framing started, we all sat down together to plan out where each element should go and how the signage will fit into it. Below you can see where the vampire bat ID sign will be partially set into rockwork that will be created where the yellow lath is located.

Site for the vampire bat ID sign
This is the site for the vampire bat ID sign, which will be partially set into the rockwork.

We also talked about how to make some of the fabricated elements functional beyond just increasing the aesthestic appeal. For example, the rockwork that extends into the public space below the vampire bat cave viewing window will create an opportunity for younger visitors to step up for a better look.

Vampire bat step up
Rockwork below a viewing window will give youngsters an opportunity to step up for a better view.

The aardvark den is one of the larger fabricated elements using this rebar and lath framework.

Building the aardvark den frame
One of our exhibits artists puts the finishing touches on the aardvark den frame.

What happens next? Stay tuned to find out!