Zoo Design

News Articles

Cardboard Box Theory

Early in my zoo design career, I visited a fairly large zoo in a major mid-west metropolitan area with my wife and small children as part of our family vacation. Before we had seen half the zoo, my kids were tired, bored and cranky. All the while, I was bound and determined to see everything ... READ MORE

Zoos, the Awe Factor, and Conservation

Have you ever seen a polar bear dive underwater and place a giant paw against the glass? Have you ever watched a chimpanzee swing through the air with amazing agility or seen a rhinoceros run at high speed? Maybe you’ve visited the WDM project at the Phoenix Zoo and experienced the deep gaze of ... READ MORE

It’s the Isle of the Tiger, It’s the Thrill of the Site

There’s a new growl emanating from the Arizona’s Valley of the Sun. WDM Architect’s latest tiger exhibit, Isle of the Tiger, opened November 6th at the Phoenix Zoo. The exhibit is the final element of the zoo’s A World Class Zoo For A World Class City capital campaign, which added three ... READ MORE

International Orangutan Day:
Celebrating the “People of the Forest”

  I’m an unabashed tree hugger. But today is a day dedicated to one of the most extreme tree huggers of them all – the orangutan – because today is International Orangutan Day. This great ape shares 98 percent of our DNA and is unquestionably one of the most intelligent animals ... READ MORE

How Zoo Animals Find New Homes

Suka and Sakari, the sibling twin polar bears at the newly opened Artic Passage exhibit at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wis. have been the talk of the town. Active, playful, and a lot of fun to watch, these bears have been drawing crowds since the exhibit opened in May. They dig in the sand, ... READ MORE

Polar Bears Warm to New Arctic Passage

Climate change is melting polar ice, making it harder for bears to find food, forcing them to swim further from ice flow to ice flow to hunt. With less ice and more open water, seals have more places to come of up for air, and it’s becoming more difficult for the bears to continue to […] READ MORE

Storytelling…an Essential for Zoos

“….to provide unique experiences that connect people with nature and inspire conservation of the natural world.” If you were to look at the mission statement of the over 220 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums the above statement or some derivative of it would likely be present.  That is because ... READ MORE

Our Zoo Studio Team — WDM Architects

  Being a lone wolf is not a good thing if you are zoo architect. No, in fact, we’ve found after 25 years of consulting, our best designs happen when we work like a wolf pack, each individual bringing their own skills to benefit the overall team.  At WDM Architects, our “pack” looks to the ... READ MORE

Going Grey for 96 Elephants

WDM Architects went “grey” for World Elephant Day & 96 Elephants on August 12th. This is a global awareness campaign that helps 96 Elephants Organization organize support to urge legislators around the world to ban ivory sales and help protect these magnificent animals. You can ... READ MORE

Sex in the Zoo? How Zoo Architects Design Propagation Facilities

When you visit your local zoo, you will see animals in habitats that mimic their natural environment. But, what you will not see are the behind-the-scene areas created for species preservation and propagation. To sustain a species in captivity (and in some cases release species back into the ... READ MORE

Zoo Adaptations for the Future

The year is 2114. Our planet’s biodiversity had reached critically low levels within the last 30 years thanks to rampant overexploitation of resources. Resources used to feed, house, and entertain our non-sustainable population growth and consumption. Resources that had dwindled enough to ... READ MORE

LEED Silver Certification for Grizzly Ridge

Akron Zoo’s Grizzly Ridge Exhibit Achieves LEED Silver Certification Akron, OH – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded the Akron Zoo’s Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge exhibit the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, reinforcing the zoo’s ... READ MORE

Our Zoo Design Architects Conquer the Master Plan Madness

We are coming to the end of another March Madness and the best college basketball teams will be fighting it out for the championship. A lot has been made of the teamwork and chemistry of these teams, and how that comes together to create excellence. Watching these talented teams work together ... READ MORE

“96 Elephants”

It seems hard to imagine but there is a very real possibility that we could see elephants vanish in a few years. Why? Despite conservation efforts, almost 100 elephants a day are being killed. To put it in perspective, imagine standing every day of a year on a street corner and watching 100 ... READ MORE

Design on the Wild Side

“Did you say you are a zoo architect? That’s cool!” I get that a lot after an introduction. And inevitably, that person will ask if it is “fun.” It is. But there’s much more that goes into the thinking, planning and design of zoos than most people think. The biggest misconception regarding zoo ... READ MORE