Zoo Habitat Design

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium Orangutan Habitat

About the Project

The great apes’ dayroom is extensively furnished with flexible poles and hammocks that can be reconfigured often, varying placement to keep the animals challenged and mentally stimulated. When the weather is appropriate, they can choose indoor or outdoor yards. Adjacent bedroom areas allow easy access and management choices for keeper staff.

Thematic columns in the dayroom are filled with active and passive enrichment features to stimulate the animals through ever-changing use. Keepers also interact with orangutans along a second-level mezzanine, providing additional variety in the daily management routine.

Green design features:

  • The wash-down system uses non-potable water from the zoo’s water tower
  • LED lighting is used throughout the building
  • Trees removed for construction were used for animal browse
  • Animal doors & benches have recycled plastic content
  • A heat recovery wheel in the main HVAC saves 15% in heating and 4% in annual cooling with a payback of 2.5 years.
  • 36” deep mulch on the floor helps maintain humidity and provides foraging opportunities to promote animal welfare
  • Exterior walls use 2” continuous insulation and very few thermal breaks
  • Dayroom and bedroom areas use skylights and ample windows for natural light
  • Radiant heaters in the public space are triggered by occupancy sensors to run only when people are present

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