Overview

Minnesota Zoological Garden

Heart of the Zoo

Apple Valley, Minnesota

Overview

The 110,000-square-foot Heart of the Zoo Entry pavilion is part of an overall plan to improve the visitor experience with infrastructure upgrades, three new animal exhibits, and a reconfigured entry. Phased construction includes the Education Building renovation (Phase I), new Entry Pavilion (Phase II), and parking reconfiguration (Phase III).

The centerpiece is the Entry Pavilion, which serves as the central orientation point for the entire Zoo. The pavilion connects existing education, food services and administration buildings while incorporating functional architectural detailing that allows the planned Penguins, Macaque and Kopje exhibits to take center stage. Materials include durable concrete floors, white ceilings, wood siding, and expansive window walls that open the interior to the zoo grounds.

Lighting Design

The Heart of the Zoo project improves the visitor experience at the Minnesota Zoo with innovative lighting solutions that respond to the needs of animals, patrons, and the environment. In designing the penguin exhibit, the animals' physiological needs were carefully researched to determine the appropriate quantity, spectrum, and duration of illumination necessary to support the birds life in the exhibit. The sustainable lighting solutions employed encourage education and interaction in exhibit, classroom, and theatrical spaces. The project expresses the Zoo's commitment to environmental stewardship. 

Sustainable design

The architecture share the zoo's green story with sustainably harvested wood siding, energy-efficient HVAC systems, natural ventilation, daylighting strategies, photovoltaics (PV), and wind turbines.

A beautiful project in which the architecture becomes a backdrop for the landscape and the experiential environments within. This is a spirited transformation of older buildings into a place of new vitality.
AIA Minnesota Honor Awards Jury

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Minnesota Zoological Garden

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