EECO – Ecosystem Exploration Craft & Observatory
Ten years since the start of U2’s renowned 360° Tour, one of the largest traveling stages in rock history now has a permanent home at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium (LLPA)!
Alluding to its future use, the structure is now known as EECO (Ecosystem Exploration Craft & Observatory). The stage beneath EECO is actually the roof of a building—the EECO Command Center—which will offer ecology-themed, interactive experiences that encourage guests to learn about our natural world.
An Engineering Feat
LLPA is recycling 200 tons of steel and transforming EECO into a permanent art installation, saving building materials, resources, and energy.
According to the World Steel Association, each ton of steel produced in 2017 created an average of 1.9 tons of carbon emissions. By reusing this structure instead of building a new one, the Aquarium is preventing 760,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – that’s the equivalent of conserving 35,500 gallons of gasoline emissions.
At its full height, EECO stands at 16 stories tall. To make the structure safe, sound, and permanent, it was installed in stages.
The First Lift
During the beginning of September 2019, EECO was lifted to 13 feet to allow preliminary pieces to be installed.
At Its Full Height
In early October 2019, EECO was raised to its full 16-story height.
The Final Touches
Once at its full height, the final pieces were added including the spire, lights, custom fabric coverings, and so much more.
The Living Planet Aquarium Science Learning Campus
Along with EECO and the EECO Command Center, the plaza will also include a new Welcome Center, outdoor art installations, and interactive play areas. The Living Planet Aquarium Science Learning Campus will serve the local community, become a destination for guests nationwide, and further our mission to inspire people to Explore, Discover, and Learn about Earth’s diverse ecosystems.
EECO will crown our Science Learning Campus and serve as a majestic symbol of our dedication to educating people about how we are all interconnected as one global ecosystem, the Living Planet. Not only will it serve as a community gathering space, but will come alive with special events, immersive hands-on interactive exhibits, outdoor animal exhibits, imaginative play areas, and much more. One of two remaining structures from U2’s renowned 360° Tour, this will be the only one in the United States.
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The Living Planet Aquarium Science Learning Campus will provide immersive, educational experiences that help guests gain a broader understanding of Earth’s diverse ecosystems. The Campus will be connected to Loveland Living Planet Aquarium on a 17-acre lot and includes The Living Planet Aquarium Science Learning Center, EECO, outdoor exhibits and community gathering space, and the EECO Command Center.
LLPA believes investing in art like this functional sculpture, much like investing in science, offers invaluable long-term benefits for our community. EECO, along with the Science Learning Campus, will allow the aquarium to increase educational offerings and engage in more conservation initiatives.
EECO has undergone architectural feasibility studies to ensure its permanent stability in Utah. EECO was designed to withstand high winds while under heavy seismic loads, and it proved to be extremely stable during U2’s three-year tour. In addition, the LLPA construction team will ensure that the final design for the project is sound.
The Science Learning Center will be a 90,000-square-foot facility featuring state-of-the-art classrooms, high-tech laboratories, a five-story Asian Cloud Forest gallery, an Endangered Species Conservation Center, new animal and interactive exhibits, banquet and conference spaces, and more.
The Campus will be a community resource serving the general public. The Science Learning Center will also be an educational resource benefitting K-12 students and university students.
LLPA anticipates having the plaza area open for visitors by mid 2020. The Science Learning Center will open at a later date.
The EECO Command Center will combine the best elements from virtual reality, simulators, and team-building experiences into a highly-detailed, thematic experience. Guests will embark on challenging eco-missions around the world, ranging from deep oceans to rain forests, deserts, and arctic regions, to solve real-world problems and successfully accomplish their mission.
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