Detroit Zoo

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center

“The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is designed to set the new standard for penguin care and conservation worldwide.”

The Conservation Center is one of the worlds most impressive penguin centers; the 33,000 square foot facility includes a 326,000 gallon aquatic area where guests can observe four different species of penguins.  The habitat is designed to encourage wild behavior and ensures an optimal environment for the penguins’ welfare.

The construction of the facility was of great magnitude. More than 1,000 individuals came together from start to finish to complete the facility which is  entirely funded by donors gifts. We worked with the client for over a year developing numerous designs and concepts that fit the needs, desires and budget for the project.


The penguin center at The Detroit Zoo is named after a major donor. These individual three dimensional aluminum letters, provides both donor recognition opportunity, as well as, wayfinding signage.

Polk Penguin Center

The penguin center at The Detroit Zoo is named after a major donor. These individual three dimensional aluminum letters, provides both donor recognition opportunity, as well as, wayfinding signage.

Main Donor Wall: We worked with the client on many concepts and settled on a design that mimics the exterior architecture of the building. It is constructed exclusively of high-quality colored acrylics and donor names are in vinyl decals. It is easy to update, adding additional donor names when needed.

Main Annual Donor Wall

We worked with the client on many concepts and settled on a design that mimics the exterior architecture of the building. It is constructed exclusively of high-quality colored acrylics and donor names are in vinyl decals. It is easy to update, adding additional donor names when needed.

Accumulative Donor Wall. This Donor wall is made form acrylic and mimics the architecture of the building. Donor names are added when need from vinyl decals.

Accumulative Donor Wall

This Donor wall is made form acrylic and mimics the architecture of the building. Donor names are added when need from vinyl decals.

Several plaques were made to recognize a variety of donors whose gifts ranged from $50,000 - $20,000,000. These plaques were designed to have a cohesive look with the overall design of the facility.

Penguin Donor Plaques

Several plaques were made to recognize a variety of donors whose gifts ranged from $50,000 - $20,000,000. These plaques were designed to have a cohesive look with the overall design of the facility.

This wall is located as you are leaving the facility and is designed to illuminate the stairwell, as well as making it more fun. It is constructed of three layers; first there are 4' LED Panels, a printed wave pattern is set in front of the panels, and finally the third layer is clear acrylic with cut grooves to resemble ice bricks. Vinyl decals are used for the donors names and are placed on the inside of the ice bricks.Annual Donor Wall

Ice Brick Donor Wall

This wall is located as you are leaving the facility and is designed to illuminate the stairwell, as well as making it more fun. It is constructed of three layers; first there are 4' LED Panels, a printed wave pattern is set in front of the panels, and finally the third layer is clear acrylic with cut grooves to resemble ice bricks. Vinyl decals are used for the donors names and are placed on the inside of the ice bricks.

The architects created special portholes that make you feel as if you are under water. To recognize donors we designed, fabricated and installed custom brass plaques that wrapped around the portholes.

Brass Donor Plaque

In the new state of the art, Polk Penguin Conservation Center, architects created special portholes made to make you feel as if you are under water. We designed, fabricated and installed the custom brass recognition that wrapped around each porthole.

Each project starts with a Concept Design Drawing of the donor walls and plaques at no cost. Along with design drawings, we’ll include material samples, provide costs and include a definitive plan for updating and adding new names. We will also provide a detailed schedule and a step-by-step process. All of our donor recognition programs are highly customized, designed to fit your specific requirements and tailored to work within your environment.

Have a Question?

Send our team a message or call us at (248) 930-3723.