Como Park Gorilla Exhibit

BKBM provided civil and structural engineering design services for improvements to the existing building, a new gorilla holding building connecting to the south side of the existing building, a new visitor viewing structure, two new gorilla exhibits with mesh canopies, and a heavy timber framed view blind.

Location: St. Paul, MN
Client: CLR Design
Services: Structural, Civil
Construction Cost: $11,000,000
Civil design included 1.25 acres of site redevelopment that included a building addition and the complete renovation of the gorilla exhibit area and surrounding plazas. BKBM reviewed and coordinated grades with the landscape architect, provided utility design for the new exhibit, and designed an underground stormwater management system for the total area disturbed.
Structural design for the new holding building and public viewing structure consisted of cast-in-place walls supported by conventional spread/strip footings with precast plank floors.  The roof structure over the gorilla areas was also precast plank.  The roof structure at the public viewing structure was sloped steel beams with steel roof deck.  The new holding building incorporated natural light with elevated benches for the gorillas to see outdoors.
The project also included an elevated walkway for the public to access the new viewing structure which was comprised of steel tubes and steel grating supporting composite lumber decking.  The steel framing was supported by concrete grade beams and helical piers.
The 15’x18’ view blind was comprised of round heavy timber posts and beams that are partially concealed by bamboo.  The view blind was placed directly behind steel framing with concrete foundations that supported exhibit mesh and a window to separate visitors from the gorillas.  The mesh structure over the gorilla exhibits was designed by a separate engineer and BKBM coordinated with the design team for mesh attachment points to the building structure.