The Denver Aquarium

Material Information

The Denver Aquarium
Forbes, Kerry Scott
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
84 leaves : illustrations (some color), maps (some folded), plans (some folded) ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( Master of Architecture)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
College of Architecture and Planning, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Design and Planning
Committee Chair:
Kindig, Robert
Committee Co-Chair:
Levi, Joseph


Subjects / Keywords:
Aquariums -- Designs and plans -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Aquariums ( fast )
Colorado -- Denver ( fast )
Designs and plans. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Designs and plans ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 82-83).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
submitted by Kerry Scott Forbes.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
15525196 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1985 .F64 ( lcc )

Full Text
ENVIRONMENTAL design 'Mraria library
The Denver Aquarium
c. 2

An architectural thesis presented to the College of Design and Planning, University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Architecture.
Submitted by Kerry Scott Forbes Fall 1985.
The Thesis of Kerry Scott Forbes is approved

PROJECT HISTORY.............................................................. 2
PROJECT DESCRIPTION ......................................................... 4
THESIS STATEMENT............................................................. 5
Aquariums............................................................. 11
Denver's City Park.................................................... 1Z
Denver Zoological Gardens............................................. 21
Water Quality Management.............................................. 24
Communications and Graphics........................................... 29
Circulation and Observation Areas..................................... 31
Illumination Requirements............................................. 33
Denver Building Code Review........................................... 36
Denver Zoning Code Review............................................. 43
Site Parameters....................................................... 44
Site Analysis......................................................... 45
Climate Analysis...................................................... 46
Goals and Objectives.................................................. 50
Building Concepts..................................................... 51
SPATIAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT.................................................... 52
Porpoise Pools and Amphitheater....................................... 53
Holographic Theater................................................... 54
Sea Bird Alcove.......................................................55
Aquatic Habitats Gallery.............................................. 56
Aquatic Lifestyles Gallery............................................ 58
Coral Reef Exhibition................................................. 59
Shark Tank............................................................ 60
Children's Discovery Center........................................... 62
Service Facilities.................................................... 64
Public Amenities...................................................... 67
THESIS CONCLUSION........................................................... 69
BIBLIOGRAPHY................................................................ 82
FOOTNOTES................................................................... 84

The proposed Denver Aquarium has been a long term objective of the Zoological Foundation and the City and County of Denver. In 1982, voters passed a multiproject bond issue that included capital funds for the aquarium project. Since then, contributions have been made available from corporations throughout the metropolitan area. These financial commitments from both public and private resources are seen by the Zoological Foundation as a demonstration of public support for the aquarium. The aquarium is to be located in a 10 acre tract of land that is adjacent to the Denver Zoological Gardens in City Park. In accordance with a Master Plan drawn up for the zoo in 1957, the Denver Aquarium will serve as an eastern entrance to the Zoological Gardens, interfacing with the New Marine Mammal Exhibit. This new exhibit, designed by local architect, Alan Peterson, is currently under construction.
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The aquarium project is under the guidance of Clayton F. Freiheit, Director of the Denver Zoological Gardens. He has determined that upon completion, the aquarium should be economically self-sustaining, paying its own way through admission fees and the public use of amenities such as restaurants and book-sales. In order to meet this goal, the aquarium must serve a combined role, offering to the public a facility that supplies educational, recreational, and entertainment opportunities.
As one of many public facilities located in City Park, which include the Museum of Natural History, Phipps' Imax Theater, and Gates Planetarium, the Denver Aquarium will assume a role of prominence. It is estimated that one million people will use the facility each year, with peaks of visitation where the building must accommodate 2,500-3,000 people per hour.

The Denver Aquarium is estimated to require 100,000 square feet. This area will include the following exhibit spaces:
1. Porpoise Pools and Amphitheater
2. Aquatic Habitats Gallery
3. Aquatic Lifestyles Gallery
4. Corral Reef Exhibit
5. Sea Bird Alcove
6. Shark Tank
7. Children's Discovery Center
8. Holographic Theatre-Deep Sea Creatures
Public amenities are to include:
1. Restaurant-Bar
2. Bookstore/Giftshop
3. Information Centers
4. Restrooms
The staff requires spaces that include:
1. Offices
2. Men's/Women's locker rooms with showers, etc.
3. Veterinary facilities
4. Commissary for animal and fish food storage
5. Storage for maintenance supplies
6. Staff restrooms
7. Staff lunchroom
8. Food preparation areas near animals to be fed
9. Workshop for maintenance crews

"We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first Time."3
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
The essence of an aquarium is the creation of an illusion. The illusion is that of the aquatic world. There are many kinds of aquatic environments on this planet, however, the Denver Aquarium will focus on seven of these habitats as they apply to the aquatic lifestyles contained therein. The illusion of the aquatic world is designed to teach visitors something important; that all life comes from water and is therefore always dependent on water. That knowledge will lead them to understand the respect they must have for the water with all of its strange and beautiful creatures.
"Let the waters bring forth abundantly the, moving creatures that hath life."
There was a time on our planet when the only life-sustaining element was water. It is from the water which all life forms originated and evolved. As humans, we not only have a common ancestry with aquatic life forms, but our blood actually contains similar water to salt proportions of the seas which spawned us. It is as if the first cells which formed took on the composition of the water and carried its composition to wherever they evolved.
All creatures have depended on the waters of the earth for their survival. The oceans, rivers, and seas have been a source of nourishment, migration, and mystery throughout history. In the process of drinking and finding food in the water, humans developed a fascination for water. We devised ways to swim through or float on the water. When it froze, we

could walk on it. We discovered distant lands, using water as a means of transport. Great tales were told about the power of the sea and the remarkable creatures that live beneath its surface. And now, unfortunately, we are finding ways to destroy ^the water, and with it the aquatic life.
"Not only men but all living things stand or fall together. Or rather man is of all such creatures least able to stand alone. If we think only in terms of our own welfare, we are likely,. to find that we are losing it."
Joseph Wood Krutch
Aquariums are often referred to in terms of the recreational and entertainment opportunities that can be provided for the public. Although the recreation and entertainment values are essential to maintain a self-sufficient flow of funds, it is the conservational role of the aquarium that is the most important. As aquatic habitats are diminished in our world, so are the species that live in them. As we develop habitats within the aquarium to house the aquatic lifestyles, we also learn about ways to preserve the eco-systems of the outside world.
From a conservation viewpoint, the illusion created in an aquarium is meant to fool its inhabitants into believing that they still occupy their own ecological niches. It is the task of contemporary aquariums to provide this simulated aquatic world so that the species may respond to this illusion with their natural behavior. That behavior includes captive reproduction, which is most critical with respect to preserving endangered species. Furthermore, the need to constantly replace any of the species who are unable to reproduce themselves would put a financial burden on the aquarium and is considered to be uneconomical. Overall, the main idea is to develop a collection of species and habitats that are self-sustaining.

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There is another issue involved with respect to conservation. The visitors to the aquarium can learn more about the species and the aquatic habitats. This idea involves a quality rather than quantity approach with respect to display techniques. There should be a story for each fish (or mammal) and no fish without a story. The stories told revolve around the eco-system that contains the interrelationship of habitat to species. As the stories unfold, humans will become aware of the importance of the aquatic world to all life on earth. The visitors will experience the mysteries of the aquatic world, developing a respect and sensitivity to that world that can extend beyond their visit to the aquarium.
Architecture can address these issues of conservation by allowing enough space for the creation and maintenance of these habitats. At the same time, the design must allow a path of observation that encourages an inter-relationship of terrestrial and aquatic life forms. In essence, a stage is set. Not in the traditional sense of an audience watching a performance from their seats, but rather a theater which has the audience walking to each set and becoming a part of the performance. When, however, the performance of the aquarium is behind them, they will walk away knowing that the real drama is in their own existence. Like any good performance the experience is echoed into our points of view beyond the performance.
The building itself will contain and orchestrate this performance. The "back-stage" areas serve in the creation and maintenance of the illusion that serves both inhabitant and visitor. Areas designated for the habitat or "stage" must each have back-up facilities that specifically focus on caring for the species and their environments. Habitat-specific mechanical systems and the habitats themselves require easy access from the staff. At the same time, another back-stage requirement involves the administrative offices. These must

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be accessible to the exhibit back-up areas so that the maintenance staff can readily receive direction from the administration. Ideally, the offices would be located in the building, but not in an area which interferes with the daily maintenance. Communication links can be established with telephones.
From the public, or audience viewpoint, the backstage areas are to be osbcured from general view. The visitors will be part of the performance, and therefore unaware of the mechanisms and orchestration during the performance. However, before each performance, they can be prepared for what their roles are upon entering the habitat. The visitor can be made aware of the habitat/species relationship. They can be allowed a glimpse into the inner workings of the mechanical systems necessary to create the illusion of the habitat. They can learn about the mysteries of the seas, and then go experience those mysteries for themsleves with a new understanding.
In his book, Animal and Architecture, David Hancocks writes:
"Aquariums are in many ways ahead of their zoological counterparts, in particular in that they have learned to specialize...Aquarium design, in just over 100 years has progressed more rapidly than any other facet of zoological architecture ... showing the exciting environment that can be created by integrating modern architegture with the other world of water."
The specialized environments created in an aquarium are an integral part of the visitor's experience. The visitor not only sees pieces of this aquatic world, but can at times be allowed to touch the life within that world, holding a starfish and tasting the salt on their fingers after they leave. They can hear the sounds of the dolphins, the splashing of the waterfall, the trickle of a trout stream, and the crashing sounds of

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waves hitting the shore. The design of the building can allow humans to experience the mysteries of the sea, offering similar sensations and experiences, without having to actually go to the sea.
The coastal metaphor of water meeting the land, is an importat part of the illusion created for the visitor. Piers can reach out over the water, cliffs can rise far above it. Shores can bring an observer down to the water, with boats that can put them on top of the water's surface. Views underneath the surface of the water can range from shallow sections of rivers to the geat depths of the oceans. Essentially, the visitor will be allowed to experience, in either real or abstract terras, all of the levels of being above, on, in, and under the water without endangering the visitors' terrestrial needs or sensibilities .
Time plays a role in the experiences needed in an aquarium. Visitors must have time to see the displays and time in between to rest and think about the displays. The design of the observation and circulation areas should include areas for contemplation where visitors are allowed to sit and relax. Views of the park surrounding the aquarium or views of small displays can be integrated with these areas.
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The location of the aquarium offers unique opportunities. Denver is far from and a mile above the nearest ocean. An aquarium offers residents of the metropolitan area an opportunity to experience the aquatic world that many people in a land locked region may not otherwise know. Perhaps the people in Denver may not even be aware that this area was once part of a great ocean, long, long ago. Symbolically speaking, the design of the aquarium could hail the return of the ocean to its long lost home on the plains. Sculptures, piers, boardwalks, ponds, and coastal metaphors of any variety could announce to the visitor entering the aquarium that an acquatic

world is contained within. The illusion of the ocean takes hold even before the visitor enters the aquarium.
Every aspect of the aquarium, ranging from the public experiences to the behind the scenes services, will focus on the central illusions created within the habitats. The aquatic world will be revealed with an emphasis on its beauty and its important role with respect to the survival of all life that exists on earth. The visitors will learn what the curators already know; that these strange creatures who live beneath the surface of our waters are all part of an interconnected and beautiful world. To lose these creatures because of human ignorance or greed would be a loss to all civilization and would threaten the survival of the human species.
"The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived though its first material expression destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pa^s before such a one can be again."
William Beebe

London Zoo has pioneered a wealth of innovations, including the first public marine aquarium in the world, opened at its gardens in 1 853,
Given the physical and emotional attachment that we have for water, it is no wonder that humans have developed aquariums. The idea of capturing and containing fish goes back over 4,000 years. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia (2500 B.C.) stored fish in pools built by the sea as a readily available source of food. The Romans built canals to channel captive fish directly into their banquet halls. Throughout history, humans have utilized their existing technologies that allowed them to harvest the seas for food supplies .
In the process of this harvest, we have become fascinated with the creatures that we found. Those creatures were in fact our ancestral cousins. The Chinese were credited with being the first culture to domesticate fish during the Sung Dynasty (960-1278 A.D.). They maintained collections of carp as pets in small, indoor porcelain aquariums. In 1596, Chang Ch'ien-te wrote the world's first book on aquarium management. It became part of the Chinese culture to note and cultivate the simple human pleasure of fish watching.
In our own times, the Industrial Revolution brought forth new means of controlling aquatic systems. The Zoological Society of London opened the first "fish house" in Regent's Park in 1853. This housed a representative collection of fish which included both fresh and salt water species. From there, the idea of a public display of fish, or rather an aquarium, caught on.
The central issue to contemporary aquariums involves technology. Fish, have very habitat specific needs in order to survive.
Because fish cannot regulate their body temperatures, they require a stable environmental temperature. The saline content of the water also plays a vital

role in keeping fish alive. It may seem odd, but sea fish actually live in danger of drying up. Their blood has a lower salt content than the water that surrounds them, so water passes out of their bodies until their salinity levels are equal to that of the sea. They must move continually to keep this process flowing. On the other hand, fresh water fish live in danger of drowning. These fresh water species have blood which contains more salt than water, requiring the kidneys to take up the salt and discharge it continually. It seems that fish demonstrate the specialization of evolution. They are born of a particular habitat and will die off when that habitat is destroyed or altered.
The fountain system of 1858, the first successful attempt at recirculating water through a series of tanks.
Two Englishmen pioneered what became the technology to simulate these habitats and thus allow humans to build large public aquariums. In 1844, P. H. Grosse patented a process of making a salt compound, which when added to water would produce a susbstitute for sea water. Then in 1849, Robert Warrington began experiments concerning oxygen enrichment of fresh water. These combined efforts made possible the "fish house" in London and other aquariums on the continent; such as Hanover (1866), Paris (1867), Brussels (1868) and Berlin and Cologne (1869).
Initially, these rather simple water regulation processes were difficult to maintain. Oxygen levels were inconsistent and daylighting used to light the aquariums promoted algae growth. Eventually, a "fountain system" was provided that circulated water through a series of tanks. The tanks were arranged in a classroom-like setting with rows of table top displays.
Two distinct architectural styles emerged for aquariums in the last half of the nineteenth century. The British aquariums heed to a purely scientific approach. Their displays were simple square tanks mounted on pedestals or behind elaborate proceniums. They devised elaborate back-up systems to ensure

Below Another early aquarium was that at Brighton with its main hall as it appeared in 1873 ; with British exhibits a greater emphasis was placed on the scientific aspects of aquarium technology and classical motifs were normally employed for architectural decoration in marked contrast to the flamboyant grottoes more popular on the Continent. The interior of the Berlin Aquarium (bottom) is characterised by the naturalistic elements the artist has used as a border.
a continuous life support for each tank. The British Aquariums were neo-classical in plan with appropriate orders, usually doric. The greatest emphasis was on technology and research. Thus, these aquariums were less flamboyant than their European counterparts.
The Europeans were more naturalistic in their approach to aquarium design. Generally, they preferred to hide the mechanical systems behind grottos or gothic ruins. While using rocks to anchor plans in the display, they discovered that the fish liked the little crevices formed by the rocks. The designers increased the number and size of the rocks and ultimately made the first attempts to recreate the natural environments of the species on display.
Americans did not start building such major aquariums as the British and Europeans until 1923 when the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco opened. The John G. Shedd Aquarium was opened in Chicago in 1929. Both of these facilities emulated the neo-classical designs of the British Aquariums.
Following World War II, aquariums took on a new identity. They were no longer just "fish houses," scientific clubs," or "gothic ruins." The aquarium had to develop multi-faceted roles within the community in order to compete with discretionary recreational spending within the entertainment industry. The aquariums would generally have to be financially self-sustaining or close down.
At this time in history, the general goal of aquarium exhibitions has been to provide recreation, education, entertainment, and ongoing research. Exhibitions are designed to draw the visitor into a one to one relationship with the aquatic environment; to offer an explanation of the ecological and geographical stories of water; and to display habitat lifestyles rather than just showing and naming the species.

The ubiquitous goldfish bowl.
From a household guide of the 1870 s. The water circulation system is disguised as a cherubim-spouting fountain, and the heavily ornamented tank apparently rests on a clump of bullrushes.
Examples of this are seen at the New England and Baltimore Aquariums. Both were designed by Cambridge Seven. The New England Aquarium in Boston was their initial attempt to show the dramatic displays that can be created with the new materials and technologies at hand. The Oceanic Tank stands in the center with over 200,000 gallons of sea water which is recycled every 90 minutes. The glass windows which allow a continuous spiral of viewing in a height of 23 feet and a 40' diameter are 3h inches thick.
In their design for the Baltimore Aquarium, Cambridge Seven decided to use the same technology, but this time, the fish would surround the people viewing from the center. This had the desired effect of making the viewer feel submerged. Unfortunately, the central porpoise pool in the aquarium was not as successful. The spaces are dramatic with escalators over the pools and lookout decks, but the mechanical noises from the pumping systems and conveyor systems was keeping the animals awake all night and confusing their sonar. One dolphin died and three others became ill. They were removed and will be replaced with Baluga whales, but their ability to adapt to this design is also questionable. Maybe we should send them some goldfish. They're cheaper. I might also add that the building has required major renovation in order to more gracefully accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. And let's not forget the serious roach problem in the atrium's terrestrial display. Apparently insecticides kill fish, too.
The "state of the art" aquarium as of now is in Monterey, California. Resting on piers which step out into Monterey Bay, this aquarium foregoes the strict circulation patterns of the New England and Baltimore Aquariums in favor of an open circulation plan which allows visitors to choose their own paths, much as they would if they were swimming or scuba diving. The 335,000 gallon Monterey Bay tank shows sealife as it

exists just outside. Another 28 foot high tank displays a living kelp forest community viewed from three levels. Water is pumped directly to the habitats from the bay. Huge, life site replicas of sea mammals hang from the ceiling above the visitors, adding to the illusion of being underwater.
The trend in future aquariums includes much more use of technology to capture the feeling of the aqautic world. Plans to use robots to film deepsea creatures as well as the abundant life near the surface are underway. The robots can obtain moving pictures from 360 around the subjects. This would allow holographic displays of the animals to be projected through a space without ever having to capture and remove the creature from its habitat. For inland aquariums, this approach could solve many technical and strategical problems.
Completed in 1969, to the design of the Cambridge Seven Associates, the austere exterior of the New England Aquarium belies the drama and excitement of the carefully sculptured interior.

Welcome tp the World of Water
The New England Aquarium, a nonprofit institution, is dedicated to education, research, and recreation. Memberships, admissions4donaiions, and gift shop support our environmental education programs and marine research.
Snack Bar
promotional MATERIAL

Eighteenth Avenue Entrance to City Park, McLellan Memorial Gate.
City Park began in 1880 with 40 acres when Denver was 22 years old. Pioneer Henry Lee sponsored the bill in the state legislature which authorized municipalities to begin acquiring land for the park. He initially had in mind not only the 320 acres proposed for City Park, but also the park at Sloan's Lake. His intention was to develop a boulevard between City Park and the lake. Unfortunately, only a survey of the boulevard was completed, as the city decided not to buy up the land necessary to complete the boulevard.
There was further dispute over the area outside of the initial 40 acres. Squatters who had settled there in the early 1870's had laid claim to the land. It was not until 1889 that Denver, for $56,000, was able to buy the rest of the land.
The land at that time consisted of few trees, buffalo grass, sagebrush, and cactus. Citizens set about seeding the grass. Irrigation for the park was provided by City Ditch, which ran diagonally through the park. A natural draw ran parallel to the ditch, making possible the creation of two lakes. A rail fence was then added to keep the entire area protected from domestic and wild animals. Trees were added to the park by school children as an Arbor Day project. The children dressed in bright cheesecloth costumes in their school colors. They would arrive in hayracks with their lunch baskets, and spend the day planting cottonwoods.
With the community landscaping underway, the Denver residents decided that flowers, grass, and trees were not enough. Music was needed. Volunteer bands responded with enthusiasm. Hawaiian music could be heard from benches surrounding the lake. The musicians would sit and

play their instruments on the tree covered island in the middle of the lake. Eventually, a bandstand was built on stone piers in the big lake for two-hour concerts.
The zoo came to the park by accident. In 1896 a bear cub was given to the city by a teamster named Bowles, who had a farm on the southeast corner of the park. He had the cub as a pet, but the animal kept killing his chickens, so he donated the bear to the city. For awhile, the bear was chained to a haystack in the middle of the park. Later, an eagle was donated, and when these two animals proved to be a big attraction for the public, city officials determined that a zoo should be started.
In 1900, Alfred Hill was commissioned to lay out the grounds and take charge of the animals. Originally the purpose was to have only species native to Colorado. Grizzlies, black bears, wolves, and coyotes lived together in one large encxosure in armed neutrality. Later, city residents insisted that species be collected from other parts of the world as well.
In 1898, the Gentlemen's Driving and Riding Club was established by 10 business and professional men in Denver. This club was the first of its kind in the country, with each of these men contributing $1,000.00 to build a race track in City Park. Gambling on the races proved to be a popular pastime, with city residents dressing up in their finery and spending the day at the tracks.
Originally, the riding club was much less formal. The gentlemen would race down East 17th Avenue periodically, causing so much commotion that the mayor ordered them to stop. As a consolation, the mayor offered the club the land in the park on which they were permitted to build the race track and subsequent grand stand.
Scene in City Park

The Denver Zoological Gardens were the first zoo in the U.S. to build "cageless" enclosures for their animal displays. The first such display is called Bear Mountain, now historically preserved. Built in 1918, the exhibit copies the Cliffs of Dinosaur Mountain in Colorado. The elaborate cliff formations contain sleeping dens, changing rooms, grasses and pine trees. Water runs through from City Ditch. Designed by Victor H. Borcherdt, the enclosure separates the public from the bears by means of an 18 foot moat filled with six feet of water.
Originally, the "mountain" housed the monkeys as well, but later they were moved to "monkey island." Again, the use of a moat contained the monkeys, allowing the animals to roam freely on the island.
The concept of showing natural habitats as part of the display caught on. Mr. Borcherdt was then called into designing similar structures at the St. Louis Zoo.
By 1957, a master plan was drawn up for expansion of the zoo beyond the existing "mountains" and islands. Denver's population was rapidly increasing, and the desire for additions to the zoo also increased. For the most part, the master plan has been followed wherever economically possible. Many of the zoo's amenities were donated by Denver's citizens .
In 1959, the Pachyderm Habitat was donated by the Johnson, Phipps, Boettcher, and Bonfils Foundation and Post Trust. The Baby Elephant House was donated by public school children with matching funds by Carl Norgren in 1962. At the same time, the Junior League of Denver raised funds for the Infant Hoofed Animal Nursery. Norgren also donated the Seal Fountain. Plastic figures in the Chil-

dren's Zoo, Praire Dog Town, the Water-fowl Pond, the Circus Ring, the Feline House, and much more were all built as a result of generous contributions from the Denver community.
The more pragmatic, yet essential construction of Animal Shelter Buildings, parking lots, concession stands, fences, moats, and sprinkler systems were for the most part paid by city concession and capital improvements funds.
Although the zoo started out with the idea of becoming the best zoological garden in the world, its dependence on city funding or public donation has limited the zoo's ability to stay at the forefront of architectural design for animals. Designs of facilities would end up mimicking other zoos rather than innovating new ideas. It is the hope of the Denver Zoo Administration that the new aquarium will represent a new era of design innovation for the zoo.

Three types of water quality standards will be necessary in the Denver Aquarium.
1. Saline Invertebrates, Reptiles Fish and
2. Saline Mammals
3. Fresh Water Invertebrates, Fish, Reptiles and Birds
The common criteria to all of these
standards include the following:
All aquatic life requires a stable water temperature, with a narrow tolerance range. Whether it is a cold saline environment or a warm fresh water environment, the fish, mammals, reptiles and birds who inhabit those environments will die in a short period of time should the water temperature change. Given that Denver's climate is continually subject to sudden changes of weather, two considerations must be made in the design of an aquarium; a thermally stable building environment and back-up mechanical systems for use in the event the first system fails.
Chemical Composition:
The contamination of water can easily develop into a life threatening situation for the aquarium's species and their habitats, although some of these species are more sensitive to this problem than others. Even tap water from a municipal source can contain lethal quantities of chlorine and trace metals. It is, therefore, necessary to treat all of the water used in an aquarium before it reaches the reservoirs.
PH Maintenance:
As aquatic creatures use oxygen in their metabolic processes they produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct. The CCL becomes carbonic acid as it reacts to trie water.

Nitrifying bacteria within the water also produces acid. This effect on water is called acidosis and must be treated by being alkalized. PH regulation will be necessary in all water treatment, however, it is most critical in a saline closed system.
The PH level found in the ocean averages between 8.0 and 8.3. A two stage water treatment process is required to meet these levels. The first stage can be filtration through a calcium carbonate filter composed of coral sands, crushed oyster shells, marble chips, calcite, or limestone. This will keep the PH level at 7.5, protecting against rapid acidification that can occur in a closed water system.
To bring the PH level into the 8.0-8.3 range, sodium carbonate or some other alkaline agent must be added periodically to the water. Continuous monitoring will be necessary to determine when and how much of this agent is necessary.
Specific habitats will have some specific requirements which include:
Saline/Invertebrate, Fish and Reptiles:
As stated before, aquarium animals need oxygen and must get rid of carbon dioxide. The process which allows the water to exchange these two gases is called aeration. If too much carbon dioxide builds up in the water, the fish will die.
Another critical issue in this habitat is called ammonia poisoning. Ammonia is the primary waste product of these creatures, excreted through their digestive process and from their gills during respiration.
Other sources of ammonia come from the process of bacteria turning organic material in the water into ammonia. This happens over the passage of time as part of a decomposition process. The ammonia levels present in a tank, should they exceed six parts per billion, are lethal to fish.

To avoid ammonia poisoning in a closed life support system, it is necessary to utilize the nitrifying bacteria that is already present in the saline environment. This bacteria will use the ammonia to produce nitrate, which is relatively harmless. The bacteria are given a solid material to which they cling and are able to multiply their numbers. As a tank is not generally large enough to accommodate the large number of bacteria to handle to levels of ammonia presented, it is necessary to also use a silca filter. This filter provides a habitat for the bacteria on the surface area of the individual grains of sand. The bacteria and the animals require oxygen to perform their biological functions, so it is essential to aeriate the water, both before and after filtration, ensuring proper oxygen levels.
A healthy filter means a healthy aquarium. A healty aquarium means a healthy filter. It is necessary to maintain an equilibrium relationship between the size of the bacterial colony and the number of invertebrates within the tank. The most critical part of this is in starting up a new system. A limited number of animals can be supported, with the number increasing only as the bacteria in the filter increases.
As a result of the nitrifying process in the habitat, there must also be a process of controlling nitrate levels that build up in the tank. The build up of the nitrates and other compounds can have an inhibiting effect on the animals, specifically with respect to their reproductive abilities. To prevent this problem, periodic bleeding of the water and subsequent replacement with fresh makeup water is necessary. This will dilute the nitrate levels to an acceptable range.
Saline/Aquatic Mammals and Birds:
Although the water itself in this system is similar to the saline fish and invertebrate system, the management of the water deals with different issues. These

creatures breathe air directly, so oxygen levels remain relatively stable. They are also not as sensitive to ammonia poisoning. The problems they do experience are; yeast, aquatic bacteria, solid fecal waste, and T.O.C. total organic carbon.
Problems of yeast, bacteria, and solid waste are treated with a primary and secondary treatment. This involved a relatively simple process of filtration. Yet a tertiary treatment is also required to control problems associated with T.O.C.
T.O.C. is a residual element found in a closed system that does not dilute continually with newly infused water. It threatens the animals with its carcinogenic mutagenic effects. This tertiary treatment must meet federal water quality guidelines for captive maintenance of marine mammals.
Freshwater/Fish, Invertebrates,
Reptiles, Mammals:
This system is the easiest to manage of the three habitats. Constant dilution is the primary treatment of the water in this system. The fresh water can be released from the system without contaminating other water supplies, and does not involve the complicated treatment required in saline aquatic systems. Many freshwater fish are also capable of greater tolerance of environmental threats.



14, 15
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Contemporary exhibits of wildlife require an experience enhanced by visual stimuli. In fact, visual communication is the key to serving the public interest that is generated by an aquarium. Beyond the visual impact of the habitats and species featured in an aquarium, there must also be a carefully choreographed system of communication; a multi-media approach to convey messages.
The total concept of communications and graphics in an aquarium falls into a very specialized field that attempts to synthesize the major roles played by an aquarium (recreation, education scientific research, and conservation of endangered species). It is far beyond the scope of this project to portray such refined details.
However, certain standards developed in these communication techniques affect the design considerations within the aquarium. It is worth noting here what the basic requirements will be:
0 the signs should be readable in a darkened room without disturbing reflections from the aquaria.
0 the construction should be designed to withstand daily wear, scratches, blows and cleaning.
the staff, but not the public, should be able to remove the signs.
0 the number of signs and area of displays in front of each tank should be flexible.
0 new signs should be quickly and inexpensively repaired and replaced, made up of common components.
Most important, a philosophy of display techniques must address the relevance of information given with respect to how much information a visitor can realist-

ically absorb. A display of 40 species in a tank combined with a graphic display of naming and identifying each of those species is boring to most visitors. It is more interesting to explain fewer species on exhibit, with identification only as an introduction to further information.
The implication of this philosophy may have a favorable side effect; a tendency to reduce the number of species. When seen objectively, some species may be regarded as superfluous in a display, in that they might not be a critical part of the story of the tank. This leads to a quality rather than quantity approach in maintenance, resources spent, animal husbandry requirements, and the overall educational impact an aquarium can have on the public.
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Circulation and observation areas are the most critical in an aquarium with respect to the public's experience when visiting the aquarium. It is here the story is told, a place where the mysteries of the aquatic world are revealed. It is realistic to assume that the vast majority of the visitors to an aquarium will never actually put on scuba gear and know this world of water in any way other than through the observation of aquatic life in the tanks of the aquarium. The philosophy of this modern aquarium is to make that world as real as possible to them.
To my mind, it is a place of meeting, not unlike the coastal regions where the water meets the land. It must echo those features, man-made and natural, that make this collision of aquatic and terrestrial life so spectacular. Where appropriate the design of the observation and circulation areas could pull the elements of the coast, and even the banks and bridges of the river systems, into the visitor's experience. Piers can reach out over the water. Some of the areas could allude to the power of the sea as it erodes a surface by having a seemingly broken off edge. Parts of the exhibition could have a visitor walking up to the water, able to touch it, to hold a small sea creature, or to play with the bat rays. Bridges, ramps, the rails of a ship, the sounds of the water will add to the adventure. There is a layering of perception involved; above the water, on the water, in the water, and below the water. Tanks of aquatic life could surround the observer, as if they were in a bubble below the sea. This approach would avoid the monotony of a linear procession of tanks in a dark hallway.

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There are some practical concerns to be recognized in ths areas that involve efficiency. A multi-level facility will be required to allow the necessay square footage of the building to fit on the site. It would be ideal to incorporate a system of ramps to accommodate these level changes with the following advantages :
1. Minimization of the transition impact involved in a full story level change.
2. Retention of visitor attention span in moving between exhibits.
3. Handicapped access.
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The circulation areas between exhibits should have small rest areas, indoor and outdoor, that allow visitors to relax
between exhibits. Some of these areas could have multi-media presentations to introduce the next exhibit, or small
aquarium displays where they can just sit and watch the fish. These areas
should provide a contrast between the major exhibits, acting as areas of refreshment for the next display. In essence, this is the way to avoid
"museum fatigue." These rest areas could also be used to demonstrate some of the "inner workings" of the aquariums, with plastic columns to show the water as it circulates through the water filtering system. Perhaps small displays or models could show how the closed water systems work; why clean, treated water is necessary; and explaining the impact of carelessly throwing things that don't belong into the water.
Overall, the Denver Aquarium will provide a public circulation pattern that is not stringent or insistent on a visitor's path. Some focus on landmarks within the aquarium should serve as an orientation device for those times when a rest is needed between displays. A one way pattern can be encouraged if necessary, but it won't have to be enforced if it is not needed. The choice would be left to the staff.

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Herein is a brief description of the lighting requirements in an aquarium. Generally, they are divided into three specific groups; habitats, observation areas, and staff work areas. Each group has its own needs. They are described as follows:
Habitat Illumination:
This area should generally exclude daylight. The reason for this is that natural light promotes algae growth in the water. Algae will tend to make the water murky, obstructing the view of the habitat lifestyles. It also becomes an overwhelming burden on the life-support systems with respect to the intricate filtering processes.
However, marine mammals, reptiles, and birds do require natural light in their habitats. As a result, it is possible to allow daylight in these areas provided that the natural light is filtered. Special skylights can restrict the spectral distribution and radiation characteristic of the sun, and thus reduce the algae growth in the water that receives this light.
Observation Areas: Below surface exhibition will require a low level of light, similar to that found in theaters. This reduced ambient lighting scheme allows the central focus to be on the exhibit and offers an ease of adjustment from dark to light areas. Most important, it reduces glare on the tank surface, ensuring an optimal view into the tank.
Views of the exhibits from above the water will be served by natural or simulated light. The variations of lighting techniques will be habitat specific in this regard, with avoidance of glare on the water, most likely to occur in areas where visitor/inhabitant interaction is desired.

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Staff work areas will require the same light levels desired in any typical office space or research facility. As individuals working in these areas will generally prefer daylight, their desires will be considered in the overall schematic process of design and accommodated wherever possible. This is also true of such public areas that include lobby, rest areas, and amenity spaces such as restaurants.
Once lighting units are in place, they will be monitored on a continuous basis to ensure their suitability and cost effectiveness, based on five standards:
1. Qualitative output with respect to spectral distribution and radiation characteristics.
2. Quantitative output lumen levels required with regard to plant needs versus human needs versus aquatic life form needs.
3. Life cycle review of average cost of filament bulbs compared with fluorescent tubes.
4. Life cycle review of initial cost of equipment and installation.
5. Life cycle review of electricity consumption for the proposed lighting equipment.
Typical lighting fixtures used in aquariums include:
Fluorescent Tubes Advantages include: cost effective
efficiency of output/maintenance emit more light with less heat
- provide an even level of light
- yellow and green spectrum has long life

Disadvantages include:
red and blue spectrum (found in nature) and used as grow lights have a short life and emit ultraviolet radiation which can prove harmful to reproductive processes of some aquatic species.
Filament Lamps:
Only necessary for spot heating. Otherwise they tend to have a short lamp life and higher levels of heat per watt. They are not considered energy efficient.
Mercury Vapor Lamps: Kolorlux Lamps
An improved filament fixture comparable in cost and quality of light to the typical green/yellow fluorescent tube. Can provide point sources of light (adjustable). Ranging in outputs of 50-1,000 watts, these lights, when used with compatible fluorescent lights, come very close to producing an effect similar to daylight.

1. Applicable Building Code:
Denver Building Code, Amended Ordinance No. 100 of the Series of 1979.
2. Location:
Denver Zoological Gardens
3. Fire Zone:
Zone III
4. Occupancy Analysis: (Table 5a)
Aquarium Exhibition Areas:
B1 An assembly building with a stage and an occupant load of less than 1,000 persons.
Grandstand Seating Area:
B4 Stadiums, grandstands, bleachers, reviewing stands, and amusement park structures.
Restaurant and Banquet Facilities:
FI Drinking and Dining Establishments, Recreational Buildings, and other assembly buildings without fixed theatre seating, and with an occupant load of less than 150 people.
Bookstore and Lobby:
F2 Stores for wholesale or retail sales, office buildings, medical or dental office buildings
5. Allowable Floor Plate/Construction
Type Analysis (Table 5-C)

Type of Construction
USE 1 2 3HT 3N 4N 4HR
B1 UNLIMITED 22,500 10,200 N/A 10,200 N/A
B4 UNLIMITED 22,500 10,200 N/A 10,200 6,900
FI UNLIMITED 18,000 13,500 9,000 13,500 9,000
F2 UNLIMITED 30,000 13,500 9,000 10,500 6,000
Allowable Increases in Floor Area:
Section 505 a:
The basic one story area can be increased by 33 1/3% for being located in fire zone 3.
Section 505 b:
The total area of all floors of buildings over one story in height shall not exceed 200 percent of the area permitted for one story buildings. Basements and cellars need not be included in the total allowable area.
Section 506 b 3:
Separation on all sides. Where public space, streets, or yards more than 20 feet in width extend on all sides of a building and adjoin the entire perimeter, floor areas may be increased at a rate of 5 percent for each foot by which the minimum width exceeds 20 feet, but the increase shall not exceed 100 percent.
Section 702 b 3:
B1 Occupancies shall be at least one hour fire resistive construction throughout.
Section 702 a:
B4 Structures of open frame shall not be limited in height or area.
6. Required Separation in Mixed Occupancy Building (Table 5-B)

B1 B4 B1 FI B1 F2 B4 FI B4 F2
7. Fire Resistive Requirements (Table 17A)
Material of
Construction Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Exterior
Walls 4 Hour 4 Hour 4 HR/HT
Interior Walls 3 Hour 2 Hour 1 HR/HT
Structural Frame 3 Hour 2 Hour 1 HR/HT
Permanent Part. 1 Hour 1 Hour 1 HR/HT
Vert. Open. Enel. 2 Hour 2 Hour 1 HR/HT
Floors 2 Hour 1 Hour 1 HR/HT
Roofs 2 Hour 1 Hour 1 HR/HT
Exterior Door
& Windows 3/4 Hour 3/4 Hour 3/4 HR
8. Openings in Exterior Walls:
Section 1707 b:
Openings permitted less than 5'-0" from the adjacent property line or center line of a street or alley.
Section 1707 c:
All openings in exterior walls shall be protected by a fire assembly having a 3/4 hour fire resistive rating where walls are located less than allowable set backs distances as specified in table 17c.
Where protection of openings is required: the sum of the opened
areas shall not exceed 50 percent of the total area of the wall in each story.

9. Occupant Load Analysis (Table 33 a)
Use Sq. Foot Sq. Ft. Occup. Occup, Load
Exhibition Space 9,580 15 639
Mechanical Equipment 13,763 300 46
Restaurant Seating 2,000 15 134
Restaurant Kitchen 1,000 200 5
Lobby 1,000 7 143
Bookstore 1,000 30 34
Grandstand Seating 9,000 7 1,285
Totals 37,343 2,286
10. Exit Requirements (Section 3302j)
Use Occup. Load Exit Width (3'-0") No. Exit
Exhibition Space 639 12.78 4.26
Meehan./Equip. 46 N/A 2 min.
Restaurant/Seat 134 N/A 2 min.
Restaurant/ Kitchen 5 N/A 2 min.
Lobby 143 N/A 1
Bookstore (Mezzanine level) 34 N/A 2 min.
Grandstand 1,285 25.7 8.56
Multiple Story Exit Determination:
Occupant load of that story plus a percentage of the occupant load of floors which exit through the level under consideration.
a. 50% of occupant load of story above and below.

b. 25% of occupant load in stories immediately above and below the first adjacent story.
11. Exit Requirements By Use:
Section 3316: B1 & B4
a. If occupant load is greater than 100 persons only panic hardware can be used on the exit.
b. Exits shall be arranged so that the total length of travel from any point to an exit shall not exceed 150 feet.
When the building is protected throughout by an automatic sprinkler system the distance may be increased by 200 feet.
12. Grandstand Seating Requirements:
Section 3324:
Grandstand seating: Special seating facilities wherein 3 or more square feet is provided per person and where rows of seats are on an increasing height level by a terraced arrangement for the placement of seats.
Grandstands employing combustible members in the structural frame shall be limited to 11 rows or 9 feet in height.
There shall be a clear space of at least 12 inches between the back or backrest of each seat and the front of the seat immediately behind it, measured horizontally.
Minimum spacing of rows of seats, measured from back to back shall be:
1. 22 inches for seats w/o backrests
2. 30 inches for seats with backrests
3. 32 inches for fixed seating

Special Requirements: Grandstand Within Buildings
When seats are without backrests there may be nine seats between any seat and the aisle.
13. Corridors, Stairways and Ramps
Section 3304 a:
Foyers, lobbies, and reception rooms meeting the construction requirements of corridors may be considered a corridor.
Section 3304 b:
Corridors shall be inches in width.
at least 44
Section 3304 c:
Corridors shall provide at least 7-0" in clear height.
Section 3304 d:
The required width of corridors shall be unobstructed. For the purpose of this chapter, a door, when fully opened, shall be perpendicular to the opening.
Section 3304 f:
Corridors in all occupancy groups may have dead ends not to exceed 20 feet in length.
Section 3305 b:
Stairways serving an occupant load of greater than 50 shall be at least 44 inches wide.
Stairways serving an occupant load of 50 or less shall be at least 36 inches wide.
Private stairways serving an occupant load of less than 10 shall be at least 30 inches in width.
Trim and handrails shall not reduce the required width by more than 3-1/2 inches on each side.

Section 3305 c:
The rise of every step shall not exceed 7-1/2 inches and the run of each step shall be at least 10 inches with a variation in tolerance not to exceed 1/4 inch.
Section 3305 g:
Every landing shall have a dimension measured in the direction of travel equal to the width of the stairway. The dimension need not exceed 5'-0" when the stair is a straight run.
The vertical distance between landings shall not exceed 12'-6".
On all floors above the first floor, a space at least 25 inches by 42 inches shall be provided for one wheel chair in each stairway enclosure as an area of refuge for the handicapped.
Section 3306 b:
The width of ramps shall be the same as those for stairs.
Section 3306 c:
The maximum pitch of a ramp shall not exceed 1:12 from the first floor to grade; the slope of all other exit ramps shall not exceed 1:8.
Section 3306 d:
Ramps having slopes greater than 1:15 shall have landings at the top and bottom.
At least one landing (intermediate) shall be provided for each 5 feet of rise measured in the direction of the direction of the ramp run.

0-1.17-3(1) Zone Lot for Structures. A separate ground area, herein called the Zone lot, shall be designated, provided and continuously maintained for each structure containing a Use or Uses by Right. Each Zone lot shall have at least one front line. Upon application to and approval by the Department of Zoning Administration, the boundaries and area of a designated Zone lot may be amended if full compliance with all requirements of this ordinance can be maintained.
0-1.17-3(2) Location of Structures. All structures shall be set in a distance of not less than 20 feet from each front, rear and side line of the Zone lot, provided, however, that no setback shall be required for electrical substations, gas regulator stations and utility pumping stations except from such lines of the Zone lot as abuts the public right-of-way. The space resulting from the foregoing setbacks shall be open and unobstructed.
0-1.17-3(2a) Fences and Walls. Fences and walls not exceeding 72 inches in height may be erected on any part of the Zone lot. The height of such walls or fences shall be determined by measurement from the ground level at the lowest grade level within three feet permitted hereunder shall not be included in computing compliance with outside area of window exposure.
0-1.17-3(2b) Any structure or part thereof which is below the grade of any setback space may project any distance into such setback space.
0-1.17-3(2c) Canopies may project any distance into the front setback space.

Site Description:
The aquarium is to be located at the Denver Zoological Gardens in City Park. The facility is to be constructed on a 10 acre expansion site on the far eastern boundary of the Zoo grounds. The aquarium's location is adjacent to the Museum of Natural History and City Park Lake. Additionally, the site has excellent views of the Denver skyline and the mountains to the west. The site is generally flat with a grove of evergreens on its southern boundary.
The zoo is centrally located only 10 minutes from Stapleton International Airport, major rail and bus terminals and most of downtown Denver. An RTD bus, route 23, stops at the zoo's main entrance. There are also major bus routes adjoining City Park on York Street, Colorado Boulevard, and Seventeenth Avenue. Free parking is provided to the north and east of the Zoological Gardens on 23rd Street between York and Colorado Boulevard.

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Denver, Colorado Latitude: 39 45 N
Longitude: 104 52 W
Denver is located on the high plains nestled into the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains on the South Platte River. The Queen City of the Rockies enjoys the mild, sunny, semi-arid climate that prevails over much of the central Rocky Mountain region, without the extremely cold mornings of the high elevations and restricted mountain valleys of the central Rocky Mountains during the cold part of the year, or the hot afternoons of the summer at lower elevations. Extremely warm or cold weather is usually of short duration.
Air masses from at least four different sources influence Denver's weather: arctic air from Canada and Alaska; warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico; warm dry air from Mexico and the southwest; and Pacific air modified by its passage over coastal ranges and the mountains to the west.
The good climate results largely from Denver's location at the foot of the east slope of the Rocky Mountains in the belt of the prevailing westerlies. During most of the summer afternoons cumuliform clouds shade the city so that the temperatures of 90 degrees or over are reached on an average of only 32 days of the year, and in only one year in five does the mercury very briefly reach the 100 degree mark.
In the cold season the high altitude and the location of the mountains to the west combine to moderate the temperatures. Invasions of cold air from the north, intensified by the high altitude can be abrupt and severe. On the other hand, many of the cold air masses that spread southward out of Canada over the plains never reach the Denver altitude and move

over the lower plains to the east. Surges of cold air from the west are usually moderated in their descent down the east face of the mountains, and Chinooks resulting from some of these westerly flows often raise the temperature far above the normally expected at this latitude in the cold season. These conditions result in a tempering of winter cold to an average temperature above that of other cities situated at the same latitude.
In spring when outbreaks of polar air are waning, they are often met by moist currents from the Gulf of Mexico. The jutaposition of these currents produce the rainy season in Denver, which reaches its peak in May.
Situated a long distance from any moisture source, and separated from the Pacific source by several high mountain barriers, Denver enjoys a low relative humidity, low precipitation and considerable sunshine.
Spring has the most rain, clouds, and wind of any of the seasons. Much of the 37% of the annual total precipitation that occurs in spring falls as snow during the colder, earlier period of that season. Stormy periods are often interspersed by stretches of mild sunny weather that remove previous snow cover.
Summer precipitation (about 32 percent of the annual total), particularly in July and August, usually falls from scattered local thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening. Mornings are usually clear and sunny. Clouds often form during early afternoon and cut off the sunshine at what otherwise would be the hottest part of the day. Many afternoons have cooling showers.
Autumn is the most pleasant season. Local summer thunderstorms are mostly over and invasions of cold air and severe weather are infrequent, so that there is less cloudiness and a greater percent of possible sunshine than at any other time

of the year. Periods of unpleasant weather are generally brief. Precipitation amounts to about 20 percent of the annual total.
Winter has the least precipitation accumulation, only about 11 percent of the annual total, and almost all of it snow. Precipitation frequency, however, is higher than in autumn. There is also more cloudiness and the relative humidity averages higher than in the autumn. Weather can be quite severe, but as a general rule the severity does not last long.

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1. To provide an aquarium with a variety of experience for the visitor that ranges from feelings of exploration and discovery to quiet places of contemplation.
2. To house exhibits in the aquarium that can give both the visitors and inhabitants the feeling that they are part of an ecological niche within each of the major exhibits.
3. To develop a facility that functions efficiently with available "state of the art" technologies and allows the staff workers to perform their jobs effectively.
4. To provide the most effective means of fulfilling quarantine, veterinary, and commissary needs of staff workers, with respect to animal care and handling.
5. To explore the possibilities in developing such "strata" of experience as over, on, in, and under the water with the illusions created and the paths through them.


Exhibition areas of the Denver Aquarium will include the following:
Porpoise Pools and Amphitheater... 13,600
Holographic Theater................... 800
Sea Bird Alcove..................... 2,350
Aquatic Habitats Gallery............ 4,350
Aquatic Lifestyles Gallery.......... 6,200
Coral Reef Exhibition............... 5,350
Shark Tank.......................... 5,900
Children's Discovery Center........ 7,650
Other areas to be included are:
Common Service
Facilities for the Exhibits....... 15,565
Lobby Areas/Bookstore/Giftshop.... 3,500
Administrative Offices.............. 2,000
Restaurant.......................... 8,000
Additional mechanical areas and circulation @ 25%.................. 19,970

Bottle-Nosed Dolphins Sea Lions
Saline Water own waste system
Natural Light
Temperature Control
Private Areas while not performing
Portable Hoist
The exhibit will demonstrate the trained and natural behavior of cetaceans to the public. As an all weather facility, the amphitheater will have a seating capacity for 850 people. The audience will be allowed above and below water views of the 150,000 gallon capacity exhibition tank. A stage and public address system will face the audience from beyond the tank, and a projection booth with a roll-up screen will be provided. As the performances are noisy, an acoustically treated room will be necessary.
Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft.
Exhibition Area
Stage and Exhibition Tank 2,000
Grandstand 9,000
Service Area
3 Holding and 2 Quarantine Tanks 1,000 Food Preparation/Workstation 150
Trainer's Office 150
Storage (with portable hoist) 200
Mechanical Systems 1,100

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No species will live in this display. Rather, the argon laser will be used to show the deep sea creatures in a running film of their dark, deep, cold environment. These types of creatures emit their own blue-green light, known as bio-luminescence. This type of light is most easily seen by the human eye. The creatures shall occupy the back wall with an apparent depth of 20' or so. Viewing will be from one side.
Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft.
Hologram/Mechanical 100
Viewer Observation 700
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Puffins from Iceland, Penguins
Saline Water Refrigerated Habitat Air Filtration Surge Tank for Waves
Penguins breed and raise their young on the coastal beaches of Antarctica. Their environment should include a snowy/rocky access to the water, with underwater viewing by the visitors of penguin feeding behavior.
Puffins nest on sea cliffs and rock formations with similar needs for an arctic environment as the penguins. The brooding habits of puffins could be shown with a cut-away section of one of the nests.

The overall habitat is intended to reveal the adaptive capabilities of bird to the aquatic environment. Both
lead active daytime
Sq. Ft.
\ 1 species swim and
L 1 lives.
rj Area Requirements:
Exhibit Areas
Observation 600
Habitat 450
:rvice Areas
Food Preparation 150
Freezer (food storage) 100
Handling/Quarantine (puffins) 200
Handling/Quarantine (penguins) 200
Workstation 150
Mechanical Room 500

Colorado Segment
chipmunks brook trout squaw fish rainbow trout
cutthroat trout beavers water ozzles salamanders
Mississippi River Segment
fresh water oysters catfish
snapping turtle frogs (assorted) small-mouth bass
Louisiana Estuary Segment
alligator gar shrimp eels oysters
Artificial and natural light with shade
Temperature control
This exhibit will tell the story of the hydraulic cycle, showing inter-regional ecologies as part of a closed aquatic system. Under and above water views will be provided with visitors following a path that leads them through three connected habitats. This series of habitats includes the South Platte River in Colorado, the Mississippi River, and finally down to a Louisiana Estuary. Multi-media presentations will be utilized to fill in the gaps of the story.

Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft.
Exhibition Area
Observation 750
Habitat 1,800
Service Facilities
Dry Storage 100
Workstation 150
Workroom 150
Animal Backup Facility 750
Reptile Backup Facility 150
Mechanical Room 500

electric eels puff fish
upside-down catfish hog fish
electric catfish zebra fish
sea horses archerfish
trumpet fish angel fish
snakehead fish jaw fish
foureyed fish frog fish
Pacific squid fireworks fish
lizard fish leaffish
clown anemone fish elephant nose fish butterfly fish
Separate, small tanks Saline and freshwater capabilities
Temperature control Artificial lighting
This gallery will contain and display
smaller aquaria with a variety of
species. Comparisons between the small
niches will demonstrate convergent and
divergent evolutionary concepts, cryptic
coloration, mimicry, electric field
generation, and territoriality.
Area Requirements: Sq. Ft
Exhibit Area
Observation 2,000
Habitats 1,000
Service Area
Water Management Lab 500
Food preparation 550
Dry storage 400
Back-up tanks 750
(quarantine/holding) Mechanical Room 1,000

trigger fish rabbit fish parrot fish angle fish coral catfish hawkfish wrasses
Saline Water 50,000 gal. capacity tank Total viewing in the round Level changes in viewing Artificial Light (simulate day/night cycles) Temperature control Diver access
cowfish puffers trunkfish file fish mullets
butterfly fish lemon-peel fish
While it is now possible to maintain a living coral reef, it is infeasible as a project for the Denver Aquarium at this time. However, it is possible to
exhibit replicas of the coral and the aquatic lifestyle of fish commonly found in coral reefs. Multiple level viewing can provide the visitor with scenic displays of the coral and fish varieties offered in the reef.
Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft
Exhibit Area
Observation 1,800
Habitat 1,000
Service Area
Dry storage 200
Back-up tanks 400
Mechanical room 1,500
Office 150
Food preparation 300

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horn shark nurse shark cat shark
small tooth saw-fish cow nose ray clear nose ray
leopard shark sand shark pilot fish electric ray eagle ray rough tail ray
Saline water Artificial light Temperature control Diver access 70,000 gallon tank
Sharks are among the oldest surviving species on earth, having existed over 300 million years. Unlike the majority of fish species, their skeletal frame is made up of cartilage rather than bone. Therefore, they display an increase in agility that makes staff handling difficult and possibly deadly.
A deep tank with multi-level viewing would allow visitors to observe a view of the sharks gliding around the tank. Diver access from the top of the tank will accommodate the exhibit servicing needs. Furthermore, surface area requirements are such that sharks need "glide space" in the form of a figure 8 to facilitate their bodily functions. 1,400 square feet should be adequate.

Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft.
Exhibit Areas
Observation 1,200
Habitat 1,400
Service Areas
Back-up tanks 800
Quarantine tanks 800
Mechanical systems 1,500
Food preparation/workstation 200

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starfish sea urchens crabs
assorted estruary animals sea cucumbers
tame reptiles commonly kept aquatic pets trout bat rays
Saline and fresh water Artificial light Touch-tank Rest-tank
Temperature control Closable when guide not on duty Near entrance Micro projectors
The beach is what is represented in the children's discovery center as a link between ocean and river exhibits. Creatures which are safe to handle can be picked up in the touch pool. Bat rays can be very friendly toward people, and would be suitable for another touch pool where they can be petted. A multi-sensory approach to this exhibit would allow children who grow up in a landlocked state to experience the small creatures even though they may never visit an ocean.
Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft
Exhibit Area
Observation 2,190
Habitats 1,000
Service Area
Food preparation 200
Workstation 200
Storage 100
Breeding Tank 200
Holding Tank 200
Mechanical Room 200

A Science Center near the beach will serve as an educational area for children. Small projectors and microscopes will allow a glimpse into the smaller aquatic lifestyles. Information on aquarium pets will be abundant. Art displays by children will be shown.
Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft.
Exhibit Area
Observation 1,610
250 sq. ft. habitats 250
Art Gallery 1,500

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These facilities are required to service
the habitats with unhindered each exhibit. access to
Central Commissary:
It will be necessary to purchase sea foods for the animals when supplies from the coastal regions are seasonal and
affordable. Therefore, bulk processing
and storage facilities will be required to handle the long term supplies of food.
The central commissary will meet these
requirements with the establishment of
the following areas. Sq. Ft.
office workroom w/scales 75
and workstation 200
short-term refrigerator 100
short-term freezer 100
long-term freezer (3 @ 425) 1,275
service entry 200
central distribution area 200
dry storage 75
wet closet 50
restroom 50
staff room 75
Water Reservoirs:
All water used in an aquarium will require treatment prior to its placement in
any of the habitats. The equipment will be utilized. following
Ozone Generation 100
Silica Filter System 100
Diatomaceous Earth Filter 100
Dechlorination Equipment 100
Salination Equipment 100
Aeration Equipment 200

30,000 gal. fresh water reservoir
2-30,000 gal. salt water
reservoirs 420
Mechanical Equipment/
Control Room 400
Circulation/access 1,000
Generation Facilities:
Any type of power failure would place the aquatic species in danger. Therefore it is necessary to have back-up power generators on the site. If these systems employ the use of propane generators, then propane storage will be necessary. These facilities will be away from the main body of the aquarium to reduce any risk of fire or explosion. The generating elements are as follows:
Sq. Ft.
Back up generators
(2-3 diesel or natural gas) 400
Transformer Room 200 Storage/Hazardous Material 400 Circuit Breaker Room 100 Control Console 100
Staff Facilities:
This area includes the staff support area and the staff work areas that are utilized by the entire staff as opposed to those specific to a particular display. These areas are to be daylit with access to outdoors where possible.
Sq. Ft.
Staff Support Areas
Men's Lockers and Showers 1,200
Women's Lockers and Showers 1,200
Supervisor's Office 150
Men's Toilets 200
Women's Toilets 200
Breakroom (with kitchen) 300
Kitchen Annex 150
Laundry Room 150
Storage 50

Workshops maintenance and repair and exhibit design/ fabrication 1,000
Spray Room part of workshop 135 Assembly Room part of
workshop 135
Graphics Workroom and Storage 250
Loading Dock receiving a species and maintenance materials, must have forklift and be able to receive a semi-trailer truck 1,000
Storage Area for nonperishables 1,250
Administrative Offices:
To be near loading dock and receiving areas.

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This area will serve as an entrance hall with access from within the zoo and outside from City Park. One of the more dramatic exhibits should be visible from the lobby to stimulate interest in the aquarium and start people on the exhibit viewing path. This space should include the following functions:
1. Cashiers and Ticket Takers
2. Public Restrooms
3. Public Telephones
4. Drinking Fountains
5. Gift Shop and Bookstore
6. Seating areas lounge cloak room
7. Janitorial Closets Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft.
Public areas (entry, restrooms, telephones, cloak) 2,500 Gift Shop and Bookstore 1,000

The restaurant is to be located on the uppermost level of the aquarium with elevator access directly from the lobby.
A full service bar will accompany the restaurant. Evening and daytime use if
anticipated, with seating for 125
patrons. Views of the Rocky Mountains and possibly one of the major exhibits can be accommodated on the upper level location. The restaurant may also be booked for private parties. Should the restaurant prove unsuccessful, the
kitchen area will be retained and the
seating area will be converted to an insectarium.
Area Requirements:
Sq. Ft.
Kitchen 2,600 Restrooms 400 Dining Area 5,000

Resources for designing an aquarium were somewhat limited in Colorado. After assembling what I could from these libraries, I found that I only had a few of the pieces of the puzzle with little sense of how they would need to fit together. In order to compensate for this deficiency of information, I set forth on an aquarium tour over the course of the summer which would enable me to fill in the gaps. I made the arrangements with various directors to receive complete tours of the Steinhart, Monterrey, and New England Aquariums. These visits afforded me a wealth of information.
The pieces and possibilities of what such a facility could offer started to reveal themselves to me.
The issues of siting the aquarium in Denver were my first major hurdle. The impact on City Park did not favorably impress the people in the.surrounding neighboorhoods. Additions made to the Natural History Museum were imposed without proper zoning procedures or voter permission. Neighboorhood groups feared that construction of the aquarium would result in ruining City Park, as well as impinging on the serenity of their own propeties. Considereing the impact of aquariums in other cities, this concern was not without reason.
Unfortunately, the City of Denver faced problems with other sites suggested. It was essential for the aquarium to be centrally located, so downtown site were considered. This would benefit the economy of such an area with the additional revenues and support facilities. However, the additional distance from the airport could pose problems in animal transport, a procedure which is already complicated enough. I might also add that zoo officials did not like the idead of having spent so many years planning and working to finance and build an aquarium, only to find it taken out of their hands with no benefit to the zoo. Although many of these problems could be solved, a site has still not been selected.
Rather than getting caught in city politics and uncertainty, I pursued the design of the aquarium

in City Park. The land was free, as any other site would not have been, the zoo was there, and supplies and animals would not have as far to go from Stapleton International Airport.
Public transportation problems would have to be solved with the city's help. Since the life of the aquarium was expected to be 50 or more years, I could only hope that the aquarium would serve as a positive force in encouraging Denver residents to use mass-transit systems as a means of getting there.
The site specified in the Request for Proposal seemed approprate within the contxt of the park. Public an service access to the park could be limited to thenortheast comer, thereby not infringing on the rest of the park. An additional 150 parking spaces could be added along with a drive-up area for shuttle buses from the 250 parking spaces at East High School which could be used during peak visitation such as Sunnier and Winter vacations and on weekends.
The next problem was where to locate the entrance and what its connection would be to the zoo. I decided that a direct connection would complicate administrative control of public entrance to both facilites. Due to the ambiguous nature of the zoo design, the connection would be tenuous at best. Therefore the aquarium would become a separate facility, not acting as a new and overwhelming entrance to the zoo. The two facilities would co-exist rather than join.
The service access was placed on the west side of the aquarium, facing the zoo. This location would contain the service area, away from the mainstream of outdoor public circulation. This placement would also benefit the security needs of the area.
The entrance required a warm, sunny, southfacing plaza. Her would be the outdoor assembly area from which views of theNatural History Museum with its pastoral surroundings and City Park Lake could be seen. In order to draw people from the North and East parking lots, I used the round form of the building as the guiding force around to the entry.

The tower serves as a locational device inside and outdoors. From a distance it represents the vertical contrast to the horizontal landscapes of the West, symbolic of how one would locate water in this arid country. Trees lining a rivers' path, canyons in mountains revealing streams of runoff, windmills and water pumps pointing to the aquifers below, and water towers catching the rain from above are also signs of thepowerful resource of water. The water tower in the aquarium in fact is the source of the three water storage tanks which supply the display with a constant gravity feed of fresh, filtered water.
Water on the site was also used toguide visitors to the entrance. The pool to the north of the building sent forth water into a rambling stream which met with the walls of the raised plaza.
At the end of the plaza was an oversize drain, capable of gathering water through its sculptural grate, no matter how much came rushing around.
This exxaggerated served as reminder of the unpredictability of western water. The stream which hugged the walls of the plaza suggested a moat or canyon, separating park from aquarium. The bridge/steps used to cross from park to plaza acts as a bridge from one zone to the next, a transition.
The spiraling form of the building was symbolic of the sea shell. To me, the sea shell represents the architecture of the sea, made by sea creatures as protective housing. The nautilus shell cut in a sectional view would be much the same as the building plan. Therefore the opening of the shell would be the entry to the aquarium. The outer walls of aggregate concrete formed the protective enclosure, while the blue tiles and glass near the entry would symbolize both the reflective and transparent qualities of water.
Near the entry to the aquarium was the ideal area for the bookstore/giftshop, allowing sales of such items even if one was not going in to see the exhibits. I placed the restaurant farther in but still not close to the exhibit areas. The location of the restaurant upstairs was intended to allow the use of the rooftop over the bookstore for outdoor eating on warm days, thus adding to the festive atmosphere of the outdoor areas.

The first view of the central lobby would be a close-up of the water tower. The clear plastic tanks and pipes would be visible showing how the system worked. The tanks were stacked, allowing the height necessary in a gravity feed system which forces a constant flow of water into the exhibits. "Catwalks' surrouding the tower give the visitor multi-level viewing of the aeration processes above the tanks. The natural light from the ceiling above would enhance the bubbles. I used this display of the technology to make the public aware that this building would not exist without this kind of innovation. From the central lobby, people could see the pumps and filters below the tanks in order to understand the magnitude of this project. The mechanical systems used in an aquarium are big and impressive.
The organization of the exhibits was set up in a very logical fashion. The path would begin in Colorado with the water tower as the constant locational devise. A winding ramp would take the visitor away from the center and past a mural of the Continental Divide, with a display explaining the path of water down either side of the divide. The direction of the path toward the Gulf of Mexico would lead them to the waters edge.
The Oceanic Exhibit would begin with an overlook of the Coral Reef. A controlled descent by escalator or elevator would bring people into the ocean depths, with views on all sides of aquatic life forms. The Coral Reef, Aquatic Lifestyles, and Shark Tank would illuminate this dim, deep area. Viewing of these exhibits allowed visitors to stand and watch or move on as they pleased with the use of ramps and mid-level platforms. The Deep-Sea Holograms were tucked into an area between the Shark Tank and the Coral Reef. This area would be dark, lit primarily by the bio-luminescent fish inside, with an apparent depth of 30 feet. Steps and ramps would lead everyone to the softer edge of the beach.
Part of the Children's Discovery Center was used to suggest the beach, while the upstairs area became the Science Center. As this area was open to the central lobby, it allowed easy access to and from the lobby, with the beach resting on a lower level and the Science Center above. The beach would provide touch tanks,

where people could actually hold small creatures such as star-fish and sea cucumbers, and tidal pools with splashing water filled with tidal creatures clinging to the rocks. The friendly bat-rays occupied their own pool, and would become the aquarium pets for everyone, as they are playful and trainable. Displays of art would be located in the Science Center along with microscopes and video exhibitry.
From the beach, a path would lead upstream through the river sections in the Aquatic Habitats Gallery. The Louisiana Estuary, Mississippi River, and Colorado River segments would show the aquatic life natural to those areas. Habitat specific plants and trees would provide a backdrop, with waterfalls between each sequent to symbolize their connections to one another. Visitors would go upstream until they reached the level of the lobby, once again finding themselves in Colorado.
Additional exhibits include the Porpoise Pools and Amphitheater, and the Sea Bird Alcove. The performance in the amphitheater would be scheduled every two hours. While waiting to get in or resting between exhibits, people could sit and watch the penguines and puffins playing in the Sea Bird Alcove. Another source of amusement would be offered on the "catwalks overhead, where views behind the scenes would allow glimpses into the staff habitat maintenace areas.
The service areas worked very well within this scheme. All of these areas were connected on two levels. The administrative offices were located away from the habitat service areas so that the fish maintenance would not disturb the administrative functions. Other habitat specific offices and work areas were put near their particular exhibits to allow ready access for care-taking of the fish or mammals. All of these spaces line the outer wall in order to utilize the natural light and ventilation from the windows.
Service intesive areas, such as the Shark Tank Porpoise Pools, and the Coral Reef, with the largest animals, were kept near the service entrance. This would allow less complicated access routes for animal transport and daily feeding. The Central Commissary was also located in this area so that shipment of food would not interfere in the habitat service areas. A large number of holding tanks would be near to acccm-

modate the new animals held in quarantine, as they would have to be observed before being added to a habitat. The fish from the other exhibits are smaller and easier to transport, thereby not requiring a close proximity to the service entrance. The two service levels and mechanical systems in the basement below were connected with freight elevators and service stairs.
An additional advantage to this scheme concerns the mechanical systems. All exhibits with similar water types would have the same surface level, as would their back-up tanks. This would eliminate the need for separate storage tanks for each exhibit and allowing one filtering system for each water type. The fresh water exhibits would would be the exception since the continuous flow of water through the river streams would let gravity do the work of the pumps in removing water from the exhibit for filtering.
In conclusion, the overall scheme of the aquarium met with the ideas set forth in my thesis statement. The design complications were solved by referring to that statement and setting up a dialogue frcm which I could draw ideas for the possible solutions. I embraced the technology in the design, rather than hiding those back-stage areas which I found so fascinating during my aquarium tours. The public circulation scheme added a sense of logic to the displays, and helped to make the service and mechanical circulation and connections a success. Although in reality such a facilitywould take many years to design, I discovered the pieces of the puzzle fit very well, and I had found the key to what I had hoped the Denver Aquarium could be.

South Elevation
East Elevation

Upper Level Plan
North Elevation
West Elevation

Coral Reef
Seabird Alcove

South Elevation
Interior Elevation





Water Systems
*<*/ -
Mechanical Systems

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Design Service for the Denver Zoological Gardens, 1984.
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1. Request for Proposal, City and County of Denver, p. 6-7, 1984.
2. Request for Proposal, City and County of Denver, p. 11-22, 1984.
3. Spotte, Stephen. Seawater Aquariums: the Captive Environment, Introduction, n.p., 1979.
4. Cromie, William J., The Living World of the Sea, p. 1, 1966.
5. Cromie, William J., The Living World of the Sea, p. 1-35, 1966.
6. Bendiner, Robert. The Fall of the Wild, the Rise of the Zoo, p. 142, 1981.
7. Wolf, Robert L. and Tymitz, Barbara L., "Studying Visitor Perceptions....", International Zoo Yearbook, V .21, p. 49-52, 1981.
8. Hancocks, David. Animals and Architecture, p. 154, 1971.
9. Bendiner, Robert. The Fall of the Wild, the Rise of the Zoo, p. 147, 1981.
10. Hancock, David. Animals and Architecture, p. 149-156, 1971.
11. Draper, Ben. "A History of Denver's Parks" p. 48-76, 1934.
12. Denver Zoological Foundation, Zoo: City Park from a pamphlet, p. 1-10.
13. Miller, David Reed III. "Denver's Aquarium," p. 13-17, 1984.
14. Schiotz, Arne, and Vestergaard-Hansen, Geert. "New signs in an old aquarium." International Zoo Yearbook, V. 21, p. 11-12, 1981.
15. Wolf, Robert C. and Tymitz, Barbara L., "Studying visitor perceptions...." International Zoo Yearbook, V. 21, p. 50.
16. Miller, David Reed III. "Denver's Aquarium," p. 23, 1984.
17. Cansdale, George and Yeadon, John. "Modern Aquarium Lighting." International Zoo Yearbook, V. 11, p. 74-76, 1971.
18. Miller, David Reed III, "Denver's Aquarium," p. 29-36, 1984.
19. Miller, David Reed III, "Denver's Aquarium," p. 37, 1984.
20. Miller, David Reed III, "Denver's Aquarium," p. 43, 1984.
21. Miller, David Reed III, "Denver's Aquarium," p. 40-42, 1984.
22. Request for Proposal, City and County of Denver, p. 4.
23. Request for Proposal, City and County of Denver, p. 11-22, 1984.