Denver Zoo's new state-of-the-art Polk Penguin Conservation Center is the largest of its kind and home to 83 penguins of four species.

Designing the interior to account for more than 326,000 gallons of water and 33,000 square feet of space was only half the challenge for architect Albert Kahn Associates Inc., Detroit. The developers had greater plans for the facility's exterior—to capture the essence of Antarctica.

To help undertake the challenge, Albert Kahn Associates teamed with IMETCO, Norcross, Ga., and The Valspar Corp., Minneapolis, to create a customized iceberg look. IMETCO supplied four types of metal panels installed by C.L. Rieckhoff Co., Taylor, Mich., including diamond-shaped panels that interlock to replicate the jutting and jagged edges of Antarctic terrain.

The Valspar team created a customized Fluropon® Classic II Special SR coating that contains a hint of blue visible in Antarctic snow to cover the panels. The solar-reflective coating will help reduce overall energy consumption while keeping the habitat's interior cool.

The result is a monolithic tabular-looking iceberg that sparkles in the sun. The Polk Penguin Conservation Center opened in April and will welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. To view a live web cam of the penguin exhibit, click here.

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