More than four years after the Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in Missouri was devastated by more than a billion gallons of water from the breach of the upper Reservoir at Ameren UE’s Taum Sauk Hydroelectric plant, the 10,000-square-foot visitor center, also known as the Black River Center, was rebuilt.
Inside the Black River Center, a story is told through the decorative concrete floor and interpretive exhibits. A “river” meets visitors when they enter the main doors, meanders around the exhibits and flows out the front door into a large exterior plaza. The river continues its movement outside in a plaza to form a “pool” around a grouping of interpretive rocks. It continues its flow to the end of the plaza, as if it is going to meet the Black River, which is in the distance. Throughout the Black River Center the river imitates the natural meanders and energy of an Ozark stream, with runs, riffles and pools.
Concrete Surface Innovations Inc. worked closely with the general contractor, Mactec Engineering and Consulting, Alpharetta, Ga., and the design team from Signature Design, St. Louis, Mo. The Lithocrete river was created by seeding seven different shades of recycled glass, frosted glass mosaic marble tiles, white garden stone, and two different colors of concrete dye.
The perimeter of the river told a story with the patterns of seven different animal prints and three different leaf prints stamped into the poured concrete that later had concrete dye applied, mimicking the land around the river. The Lithocrete paving and the stamped paving was poured 4 inches thick over the existing surface by a six-person crew over a six-week period.