2021 DCC Award Winner
El Paso Zoo Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit, Bomanite Artistic Concrete
First Place: Cast-in-Place Stamped, Over 5,000 SF
The Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit at the El Paso Zoo showcases North America's most diverse desert that encompasses the El Paso and Northern Mexico regions. The exhibit tells the story of the Chihuahuan Desert; not only the land, but the peccaries, wild turkeys, jack rabbits; Mexican grey wolves, mountain lions, and jaguars; birds including sand hill cranes, and barn owls; reptiles such as the bolson tortoise and coach whip snake; and arachnids such as scorpions, tarantulas, and black widow spiders that live there.
With plans in place and everyone working towards the same design goals, Bomanite Artistic Concrete worked with PGAV Destinations and the zoo on the decorative concrete surfaces that consisted of three styles of implementation. To achieve the desert landscape with the natural ecosystem of plants and animals, natural stone patterns and aggregates were chosen.
As visitors enter the exhibit they come through a recreated arroyo. The Garden Stone pattern, with natural English slate texture, consists of varying sizes of stones ranging from½" x 1" to 15" x 21", providing a realistic approach to replicating the desert rock riverbed landscape from boulders to small pebbles. A total of 15,000 square feet of imprinted concrete was installed using sand integral color for the base and varying color hardeners of autumn brown and forrest brown. A clear sealer was applied for protection.
Walking paths invite visitors to pass beneath two abandoned bridges that allow jaguars to cross between the mountain and their exhibit spaces. The native desert trail of 850 SF is a natural exposed aggregate concrete finish that winds its way in and out of the area. The 6" random boardwalk pattern was used with autumn brown color hardener and walnut brown release agent. To give it a worn, aged look, accents in forest brown were added, then the 717 SF of textured and imprinted concrete was given a final seal.