On December 7th, 20 students from Bronx Medical High School’s ASPIRA Program, visited the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Students learned about plans for DDC STEAM’s Building for Animals curricula which will focus on what it takes to design and build for animals in zoos, aquariums and animal shelters.
“The visit to the NY Aquarium is part of our research for a new curriculum called Building for Animals,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis. “Our goal is to expose NYC students to the world of the built environment and provide them with the tools and framework to understand how structures and aquatic habitats are built to meet the needs of specific species and to get students to think about what is necessary when building for animals. At the aquarium the students were able to see several structures constructed and managed by DDC. Among the projects at the Aquarium managed by DDC are the Salt Water Discharge treatment system, the Sea Cliffs exhibit design, public access for the Aquarium theatre and the Aquarium medical facility. Over the course of the visit the students focused on the relationships between architecture, design and visual art in a largely water filled setting.”
ASPIRA of New York is a citywide program dedicated to serving New York City youth and their families. ASPIRA provides opportunities to the underserved Latino community advocating to improve education and their social advancement. The students visited the Glover’s Reef Conservation and the Shark exhibit to identify the different types of materials used to build animal habitats. The students also learned about the various design and infrastructure techniques used to provide safe and stable environments for the animals. ASPIRA student Amaris Perez, noted that in order to provide a functional habitat, the designer would have to consider questions such as, “will the environment be easy to clean? Will visitors be safe? And does the environment look real?”
DDC’s STEAM’s “Building for Animals” curriculum will emphasize procedures and designs for projects involving living animals. The curricula will spread awareness about animals that are quickly becoming endangered as a result of the loss of their natural environment. The efforts of the Wildlife Conservation Society and DDC will focus on structures that afford a place of refuge, comfort, and safe living for animals. These structures are created by engineers and architects who focus on building settings that mimic the natural environment.