HGA Wins Three AIA Minnesota Honor Awards for Design Excellence

11.22.11

HGA Architects and Engineers (HGA) won three Honor Awards for architectural excellence in AIA Minnesota's annual awards program.

Winners include the Heart of the Zoo Entry at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minnesota; the Performance Center at Napa Valley College in Napa, California; and the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University-Northridge.

Heart of the Zoo Entry, Minnesota Zoological Gardens. The Heart of the Zoo Entry is part of a multiphase, 100,000-square-foot master plan to improve the visitor experience. In this first phase, HGA transformed the original concrete entrance into a welcoming pavilion with a green roof and indigenous landscaping; converted the original indoor bird theater into a Penguins of the African Coast exhibit; and renovated a former whale pool into a new Bird Theater. The architecture serves as a backdrop to the exhibits and natural site context. Materials include red cedar siding, drystack bluestone, durable concrete floors, and expansive windows that open the interior to the landscape.

"A beautiful project in which the architecture becomes a backdrop for the landscape and the experiential environments within," the Honor Awards jurors said. "This is a spirited transformation of an older building into a place of new vitality."