Coastal Creek 

Coastal Creek 

Coastal Creek 

The brief 

To create a large, walk-through coastal themed aviary to house fully-winged birds with a glass-fronted tank allowing observation of ducks diving under water. The visitor centre environment required accessibility to be considered, with shelter for year-round use, as well as the ability to care for the animals and maintain the exhibit. 

The solution 

A structurally engineered 40m x 15m x 7m high aviary was constructed with the centrepiece being the raised faux-rock themed glass-fronted diving duck tank. Timber ‘airlock’ access portal structures were built to allow visitors in and out of the aviary, with access throughout provided by resin-bound surfacing resembling beaches and timber bridges across water channels. 
Landscape theming represented a journey through different coastal habitats, from a marshy creek to open cobble beaches to rocky wooded inlets. Subtle detailing was provided by coastal planting such as grasses and thrift and the use of driftwood to create a ‘strandline’. Waterfalls created some dramatic water movement, fed by a circulating water system. 

The outcome 

The layout maximised use of the space within the aviary, allowing different views of the same features to increase dwell time. The area to the front of the diving duck tank was enlarged to allow public engagement talks at scheduled feeding times. Sharing the space with fully winged birds created a sense that visitors were part of the exhibit as opposed to ‘looking in’. Design of public-free space, catching areas and an additional off-show aviary allows for good avicultural practice, helping the client to maintain the nationally important bird collection and provide a positive visitor experience. 

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