Jill Metzger from geckogroup, designer of the monument, thinks calling it a sign does not do the monument justice. When they did research for a placemaking and wayfinding project for the zoo, gecko staff found that the images of the zoo that people shared on social media contained photos of themselves with animals, but unlike other zoos, the images contained no zoo identification or branding. The goal of this project was to fix that.
The monument is part of a large project to improve the Centennial District Transportation Center surrounding the zoo. A new parking garage, landscaping, street lights, sidewalks and wayfinding signage now welcomes visitors from outside the zoo. A traffic lane was eliminated to create an entry plaza with the monument as the center piece. The monument was designed with a seating wall as a place where people could rest, or create their own photo memories:
Metzger says that the monument is an interpretation of the zoo logo and is designed to “bring the zoo brand to the street”. Here is what the original logo looks like:
The idea was to brand the zoo in people’s memories, create a Philadelphia landmark, and have people share images of it on social media and in online and print publications like they do with the Love statue in JFK plaza in center city:
Part of the design process was to construct a wood and printed fabric prototype to determine size, orientation, and sight lines. The outcome of this was to keep the 7 feet high letters of the original design instead of a smaller size, and to raise the monument base so that sight lines to the Philadelphia Zoo lettering was more visible.
Here is the structural framework for the granite base:
The monument structure is made up of aluminum panels that were precisely fitted and welded together:
After welding, the monument required long hours of finishing work to produce a clean finish:
A lot of crane capacity is required to move something this big around:
Other elements of the project feature several life size animal sculptures including these giraffes to give visitors, especially children, the anticipation of what they are about to see:
Functional elements of the project include wayfinding and parking identification signage:
The zoo is proud of their new monument, producing this video of the installation:
And finally our proud installation crew after a job well done:
What do you think? Is this a sign, a statue, or sculpture?>Click Here to Find Out How to Find a Sign Company that Fits Your Needs