The new Tracy Aviary Guest Service and Education Building will be completed in 2011/12. ajc Architects recently won and AIA Utah design award in the Unbuilt Project category.
Lead architect Nathan Webster provided some information about the design concept:
The new entrance to the Aviary which is located in Liberty Park uses form and space to envelop the visitor and set the stage for a memorable experience. The trees which provide a comfortable habitat for birds, small animals, in and around the park are the primary inspiration for the design concept. The new building will weave around existing and new trees, plazas and the Pelican Pond, to result in a gentle ‘Z’ shape and maximizes opportunities for views of the Aviary and the surrounding Park. Both the Guest Services and the Education “wings” are connecting via a bridge on the second level. An Observation Level at the southern end of the Education Building will provide visitors with an unforgettable view of the Aviary, the Park, and the Wasatch Mountains in the distance.
The site plan features a fence that extends the building/entry sequence to the western edge of the site as well as an Entry Plaza. The building and connecting bridge above frame the gateway to the Aviary. This bridge leads through a “sky court” capturing the sky and tree canopy above to enter the Orientation Plaza. From this sun-dappled plaza, visitors will enjoy direct views of the Pelican Pond, casual seating, orientation exhibits, and access to the proposed boardwalk as well as a Wetlands Immersion Experience. A bridge feature at the plaza’s southern edge invites small groups to linger and feed the pelicans, and ultimately guides visitors to the core of the Aviary.
Again drawing on the inspiration of the trees and the Aviary’s education mission, the design features a facade using a mix of laser cut patterned panels that together embody both the sun shading function and the dappled light aesthetic of the trees , while simultaneously suggesting the image of birds rising to flight.