The Myriad Botanical Gardens is a 17 acre (69,000 m²) botanical garden located in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Its primary feature is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory – a 224 foot (68 m) living-plant museum featuring towering palm trees, tropical plants and flowers, waterfalls, and exotic animals. The Conservatory opened its doors to the public in 1988.
The framework that makes up the Conservatory’s unique cylindrical shape was built using 17 tri-cord trusses filled in with over 3000 individual clear acrylic panels that assist in controlling the tropical atmosphere inside the building, via motorized dampers in the ceiling area.
The dampers . had not been serviced in over 10 years, and most if not all, were inoperable. At the time of original construction, no provision had been made to access the damper motors located approximately every 20’-0” (6 m). Since the Conservatory was filled with abundant rare and valuable plant life, the vegetation posed numerous obstacles requiring very careful construction procedures. In addition, the Conservatory was to be closed down for 6 months to accommodate a variety of maintenance procedures so the Owner requested that Pro-Bel’s work be completed within this timeframe.
Pro-Bel Technical Approach
A motorized aluminum gantry, essentially a platform on rails 60’-0” (18.3 m) long, capable of traversing the complete length of the 224’-0” (60 m) long Conservatory was proposed by Pro-Bel and subsequently accepted by the Myriad Botanical Gardens owners. The gantry rode on large aluminum I-beam sections that were mechanically bolted to the tri-cord trusses, with the platform access via vertical aluminum ladders located either end of the Conservatory. Worker safety harnesses are secured to a stainless steel cable sometimes referred to as a “dogline” running the length of the platform, thus providing unrestricted movement as well as the requisite fall-protection.
The final gantry installation was aesthetically compatible with the Conservatory – taking nothing away from the extraordinary flora and fauna – and the job completed within the allotted time constraints. The client was elated with the finished gantry installation, resulting in an immediate response. Within 30 minutes of being utilized, some of the dampers were made operable again.