The recently installed information desk at the Quarry Visitor Center.
June 20, 2011
Quarry Visitor Center - Work continues on the interior. Cabinet work is ongoing in the multipurpose room and offices. The information desk has been installed. The plumbing and mechanical systems are tied in and should be complete by the end of the week. Electricians are finishing trim work.
Outside the building, railings on the retaining wall have been installed and concrete work has been underway for sidewalks, curbs, and the tram turnaround.
The Quarry Visitor Center seen from the northeast, with the tram waiting/pick-up area visible.
Installing the framing for the south curtain wall at the Quarry Exhibit Hall.
Quarry Exhibit Hall - Work on the curtain wall systems continues. All the site concrete work for the sidewalks, curbs, and paths is complete.
View of the Quarry Exhibit Hall in mid-June showing some of the recently completed concrete work.
Paleoartists Tess Kissinger (top) and Bob Walters (bottom) at work on the mural for Dinosaur NM.
Exhibits -The new exhibits at the Quarry Exhibit Hall include a mural showing Dinosaur NM as it may have looked 149 million years ago. More than 50 of the plants and animals that inhabited this ancient world will be depicted. Cases inset in the mural will feature the fossilized remains of many of the same plants and animals shown in the mural.
At 86 feet long and 9 feet tall, creating the original, scientifically accurate artwork for this mural has been no small undertaking: sketching, drawing, and painting have been underway for nine months. The initial black-and-white sketches of each animal have evolved into highly-detailed, full color renderings. Looking at one of the nearly-life size dinosaurs, not only are the wrinkles around its knees and the folds of skin under its eye visible, but so is the rough texture of its neck and the smooth skin of its belly.
Because the mural is located directly across from the quarry face, with just a twist of the head, visitors will be able to look from the fossilized bones of the long-extinct creatures exposed in the quarry face to a scene showing those same creatures in their ancient world. This mural may be as close to time travel as we can get at Dinosaur NM.
The drawings below offer a small preview of the new mural and show the development of one Allosaurus, the most common predator at the time, featured in the mural.
An early black and white sketch of an Allosaurus developed for the new mural. (Artwork by Tess Kissinger and Bob Walters)
Once everything looks good on the black and white sketch, color is added to the Allosaurus. (Artwork by Tess Kissinger and Bob Walters)
Additional work is done to get the color and details of the Allosaurus just right. (Artwork by Tess Kissinger and Bob Walters)
Once the Allosaurus is complete, it's added to the mural. (Its head and neck are visible on the far left.) Work continues on other elements of the mural, including the plants and background. (Artwork by Tess Kissinger and Bob Walters)
Architect's rendering of the new Quarry Visitor Center.
June 6, 2011
Sustainable & Green Features:
The Quarry Visitor Center
Superintendent Mary Risser recently announced that the Quarry Visitor Center is expected to receive a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Incorporating sustainable and green technologies in the new Quarry Visitor Center and Quarry Exhibit Hall has been a priority since the project started.
Several areas of the visitor center–the pedestrian bridge, ceiling, and exterior walls–were built using recycled materials. Other materials used in the construction of the visitor center come from local sources or sustainable forests. There are also a number of features that will reduce energy and water consumption once the building is operational.
This post highlights a number of the sustainable and green features that visitors will be able to see and use when the new visitor center opens later this year.
Pedestrian Bridge & Recycled Railcar
Although the pedestrian bridge linking the visitor center and parking area looks pretty ordinary, this bridge was, in an earlier incarnation, a railroad car. The transformation was accomplished by placing the railcar, wheels removed, on bridge abutments. Once in place, railings and a smooth concrete surface that matches the sidewalks were added.
The pedestrian bridge, before and after. At left, the bridge in September 2010, just after the railcar was installed. At right, the bridge in early May 2011, after the railcar was paved and railings were added.
New Ceiling, Old Floor
The wood used in the visitor center’s tongue-and-groove ceiling was previously the flooring in the original quarry building, built in 1957-1958. When the interior of the quarry was demolished in the summer of 2010, this wood was set aside for use in the new visitor center.
Wood flooring in the rotunda of the old quarry building (left) and the tongue-and-groove ceiling in the new Quarry Visitor Center (right).
Although the large yellow cedar beams running the length of the ceiling (visible above in the photo on the right) were not part of the original quarry building, they were harvested from sustainable forests.
Exterior Stone: Then & Now
The new visitor center is built on the site previously occupied by a building that served as both a shuttle stop and, starting in 2006, the temporary visitor center. Looking at the photos below, you may notice that both buildings have stone exteriors. What may be less obvious is that it’s the same stone on both buildings. When the temporary visitor center was demolished in 2010, the stone was salvaged and, over the winter of 2010-2011, added to the new building.
Because the earlier building was smaller than the new visitor center, additional stone was needed to supplement the salvaged stone. The new stone is from a quarry in nearby Masonville, Colorado.
The now-demolished temporary visitor center and shuttle staging area (left) and the new Quarry Visitor Center (right). (The differences in the color of the stone in these two images is due to lighting and/or the cameras used for each of the photos.)
Reducing Energy & Water Consumption
Once the building is in use, a number of other features will play a role in reducing energy and water consumption. Utility systems were designed to be as efficient as possible to reduce operational and maintenance costs. Not only will the monument purchase green power, but a photovoltaic system has been installed which will offset a portion of the energy costs. Skylights will provide natural lighting in several areas of the visitor center, decreasing energy consumption and costs. In the restrooms, low-flow fixtures have been installed to reduce water consumption.
From left to right: photovoltaic panels on the roof of the new Quarry Visitor Center; a skylight seen from the roof of the Quarry Visitor Center; and a low-flow toilet and sink recently installed at the visitor center.
The new Quarry Visitor Center joins a growing list of National Park Service (NPS) buildings designed and built to be both efficient and environmentally friendly. Visit Sustainable Buildings to learn more about how the NPS is making its buildings as “green” as the parks themselves.
The new Quarry Visitor Center joins a growing list of National Park Service (NPS) buildings designed and built to be both efficient and environmentally friendly. Learn more about how the NPS is making its buildings as “green” as the parks themselves at Sustainable Buildings.