For this semester, our group had to design and construct a zoo exhibit. We decided on making an ocean exhibit full of the animals found living in water. Our exhibit included a tunnel, an interactive enclosure, a deep-sea enclosure and a glow-room. This task is important to the community and I as the Gold Coast is yet to have a fully functioning zoo and this gives us the opportunity to design one. The challenge impacts everyone in the Gold Coast area as the zoo would greatly benefit the city and attract more tourists.
What is the design of the zoo? What animals will be in our zoo? How can we make our zoo unique? These were the most important questions that guided our zoo design. Firstly, it was important to know where the required facilities and enclosures would go, providing room for people to walk. Our design enabled room for every exhibit to fit with ample room for comfortability of the zoo's patrons. It was also important to choose the correct animals that would suit a zoo environment and target a wide audience. Our group also focussed on this, replacing the giant isopod with the six-gill shark as the isopod would have been too scary for children/infants. However, we also made mistakes concerning this question as we have discovered in our research that goblin sharks have not survived a lengthy amount of time in a zoo environment. We also made sure that our zoo was unique by including the tunnel, glow-room (with black-light) and deep-sea exhibit. These are enclosures not typically found in an average zoo/aquarium, so we made sure to include these to have our zoo stand out. The lego and coloured cardboard were the most valuable materials for us as we used them frequently in our zoo. However, the lego bricks did not hold their adhesion so we had to constantly rebuild broken walls.
Our group had to make a few changes to the original proposal for our design to work. In the proposal, we had decided to make an upstairs level and a downstairs level but due to the given time constraints, this would have been a task too hard to accomplish. As a result, we decided to eliminate the top level, placing most of the animals inside of the tunnel. We moved to food stall to beside the tunnel and the interactive exhibit to the other side of the tunnel. This change also meant hat we would be unable to have a dolphin show as they would be in the tunnel with the other animals. As stated previously, another change we made was replacing the giant isopod with the six-gill shark to cater for easily intimidated children. These changes have greatly benefitted the zoo and its ability to be completed on time. Our zoo design will make a difference as it is very unique and contributes to the overall zoo the class is working towards.
To make the exhibit, our group first made the individual enclosures out of the Lego, Balsa wood and Cardboard. As stated earlier, the Lego bricks proved to be a large problem as many of the peices did not hold together. To solve this problem in the future, I would recommend making the enclosures on the base plate as this foundation will stop gravity from pulling the enclosures apart. During the making of the glow-room, we created the black-light using the littlebits kits and hid the wiring between the glow-room and tunnel walls. We then placed these into their positions on the wooden base plate and added the toilets, gift shop, tunnel entrance and food court. Afterwards, we painted the 3D printed animals and crafted others out of clay. As a finishing touch, we added scrunched blue-coloured cellophane to all of the exhibits to symbolise the water. Our zoo was effective as we were able to complete it within the given time frame to a high standard. This zoo is well thought-out design-wise but there are still numerous problems that would be changed had we done this task again.
As a team, we faced many problems. Firstly, there was a conflict of ideas when deciding which enclosures should go into our zoo. There was also sometimes a lack of communication as ideas made were comprehended differently by the different members of the group. However, all of these problems were to be expected and were managed effectively. We all worked together to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. As I played a major role in the designing of the zoo, I mainly helped with creating the enclosures. Ben, having experience in Industrial Design and Technology, worked on sanding and painting the animals. Hiro helped out everywhere as he is a very adaptable and flexible member of our team. From this experience, I have learnt that collaboration is one of the hardest things to do effectively but the rewards are great if it can be done well.
This challenge could have been solved differently had we decided upon a different theme for our exhibit. Also, as the ocean is such a wide a varied area, our group could have picked completely different sub-themes with other animals. If I were to complete this challenge again, I would make many changes. The enclosures were created to a scale (2x the dimensions on the drawn plan) and the animals were created to a different scale (a criteria made in class with the collaboration of all the pupils). As these did not correspond, the 3D printed animals were much larger than expected. Therefore, next time our group would make sure to use the one scale throughout the entirety of the zoo. We will also ensure that all animals can live in captivity as it is important to be mindful of the safety of the animals. Next time, our group would plan better to ensure that we created a zoo that could be created within the time constraints, although, I do believe our group made the right decision in combining the top and bottom levels. Creating the Lego enclosures on the base plate could also save valuable time. From this experience, I will never forget the importance of planning efficiently and effectively but also keeping an open-mind in the case that these plans need altering.
As a result of this process, I have been exposed to a variety of graphic tools and different methods of thinking. Our zoo meets all but one of the criteria created last term. For improvement on this, we would need to implement more stimulants for the satisfaction of the animals. This process of design, construction and evaluation can be implemented to any major projects and have the potential to be very useful to them. The skills of brainstorming, questioning, evaluating, designing , refining, etc. can be applied to all other subjects and will allow for them to be completed in much more depth.
Overall, I am very proud of the process our group has gone through and the zoo exhibit we have created. There are various negatives and rooms for improvement but I consider our group successful in creating a zoo exhibit that meets most of the criteria.