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Metal panels, coating cool conservation center

Photo: Jennie Miller, Detroit Zoo

Photo: Jennie Miller, Detroit Zoo

Albert Kahn Associates Inc. designed Polk Penguin Conservation Center at Detroit Zoo in Michigan to resemble an Antarctic iceberg. C.L. Rieckhoff Co. Inc. installed four types of Innovative Metals Co. Inc.'s (IMETCO) metal wall panels including the diamond-shaped Diamond D style from the Legacy Wall Panel Systems line to replicate jagged edges of Antarctic terrain.

The panels were coated with Valspar Corp.'s Fluropon Classic II Special SR coating in custom Iceberg White to create a shade of white with a hint of blue similar to Antarctic snow. The coating is solar reflective, resists ultraviolet rays and keeps the interior cool. It contains 70 percent PVDF resins, which resist dirt and staining.

John Hrovat, director of architecture and design at Albert Kahn Associates, says his firm's main objective was to support the welfare of the penguins. "We wanted the exterior of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center to capture the essence of Antarctica, the most otherworldly place on Earth," he says. "Antarctica has an ever-changing landscape due to the ice and light, and we were determined to have the center reflect this original penguin habitat as closely as possible."

Polk Penguin Conservation Center was completed in 2016 and houses 83 penguins, more than 326,000 gallons of water and 33,000 square feet of space. The 125-acre Detroit Zoo has more than 2,400 animals and 255 species.

Architect: Albert Kahn Associates Inc., Detroit
General contractors: DeMaria Building Co. Inc., Detroit, and Wharton-Smith Inc., Sanford, Fla.
Installer: C.L. Rieckhoff Co. Inc., Taylor, Mich.
Coatings: Valspar Corp., Minneapolis,
Metal wall panels: Innovative Metals Co. Inc. (IMETCO), Norcross, Ga.,