Intended to draw people into a sensory and exciting experience with nature, sustainability was a critical component of the project. According to Dow Gardens, only six trees were removed throughout construction.
“We would get so much done, and they would come back with a tree that they didn’t see, so we’d have to make cutouts in the steel or frame steel around the tree so they wouldn’t have to cut it down,” Adams said. “There were intricate data points, stuff we’ve never had to deal with before.”
“Without the help of Adco, it would have been most difficult to construct a project with no straight lines or edges, built in the middle of the forest without touching any trees,” said Jamie Kaufman, an owner of Magnum Construction Company, Inc., the project’s fabricator and erector.
Adco managed the complicated project in SDS2 with a lot of manual detailing and data imported from the supplied Autodesk Revit design model.
Adco has been an SDS2 customer since the company began in 2003, and Adams and Stepan have been users for even longer. The company, located near Forth Worth, Texas, has grown from four employees to ten, and they’re looking to expand.
“Working with Adco on this project gave us the best chance of success,” Kaufman said. “They provided us with additional work lines and working points to help in the fabrication process.”
The dynamic environment and design challenges required constant contact between Adco and Magnum.
Dow Gardens held its grand re-opening of the Whiting Forest with the new canopy walk and two pedestrian bridges in October 2018 with record-breaking attendance of over 30,000 people in its first week.
In addition to being a grand prize winner in SDS2’s Solid Steel Awards, the project was also recognized with several architectural awards, including the 2020 American Architecture Award from the European Centre & The Chicago Athenaeum.
For Kaufman at Magnum, it was a crowning achievement—he delayed his retirement to see all phases of the project complete.
“It was a fun project because it was something different,” Adams Jr. said, but the Adco team agrees they aren’t in a hurry to repeat the experience—and certainly not the two heart attacks suffered by team members (both now recovered!) during the course of the project.
Their upcoming projects, including a Marriot hotel and an elementary school, are a little more straight-edged.
They aren’t completely ruling out such challenging projects for their future, however.
“Maybe eventually,” they said. “We’ll have to see how the new SDS2 handles it.”