Henry Doorly Zoo Entry Addition
This addition to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo is achieved through the use of careful detail, high-quality materials, and well-planned internal and external arrangement of spaces. Materials were chosen for durability, relationship to the Midwestern regional character, and ability to provide identity to the Henry Doorly Zoo. In order to achieve an understated simplicity to the structure, the palette has been limited to three primary elements: verde zinc panels, limestone walls and colored metal panel accents.
The entrance experience at the zoo begins along a three-block-long curvilinear boulevard densely vegetated with native plants. The master plan derives its shape and context from the state's river deltas. The sinuous pedestrian paths direct zoo visitors to the new 14,000-square-foot Guest Services and Gift Shop buildings, which are linked by a 100-foot gateway. At the base of each building, large, framed openings allow a glimpse into the interiors of the buildings. The extensive use of low-iron glass along the base increases the visibility and connectivity of program elements to the entry plaza. Above the pedestrian level, the design establishes a unifying connection across the varying architectural forms currently found at the zoo's entrance.
As with the zoo's mission of conservation and care of our environment, the project has been designed to be environmentally responsible. Using long-lasting materials reduces the maintenance and repair needed, and regional proximity of materials reduces unnecessary embodied energy while helping local economies. Colored roof sections act as passive solar mitigation elements, reducing solar gain during warmer months and allowing low-angle solar energy and natural light to enter the building during colder months. The zinc panels evoke animal imagery, while providing shading and framing views of the surrounding environment.
- 2015 Merit Award, Design Build Category - American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Great Plains Chapter