Architect has led the design of exhibits at Disney's Animal Kingdom
SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 11:17 a.m. (0)
Seattle-based PJA Architects + Landscape Architects were selected in June to analyze the pros and cons of keeping the zoo at its Cleveland Park location or moving it to an undetermined larger site of up to 50 acres within the city limits.
The company led the design of the animal exhibits and holding areas for Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
Work has not yet started because the contract is still under review by the city’s legal department.
Zoo Director Jeff Bullock said the plan should take six months to complete.
The zoo’s Cleveland Park site has 14 acres, and about eight of them are unused because they sit on a hill.
The zoo has limited opportunities to expand because it is landlocked.
The parking lot is in a flood plain and is often full because of the popularity of Cleveland Park and the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Businesses and residences are located behind the zoo.
Zoo officials said expansion opportunities would come by using the site’s landform more advantageously.
While the master plan is being developed, discussions will be held on what kind of animals the zoo wants to keep and whether it wants to get rid of any species.
Most of the zoo’s exhibits are at least three decades old and some do not meet the changing standards of modern zoos.
Another site would allow for more parking for the zoo’s 250,000 annual visitors and, perhaps, spur economic development in another part of the city.
The master plan will cost $300,000. The city and the Friends of the Zoo are splitting the cost.
Bullock said he expects the master plan to have several phases.
“It will be some time before you see major changes at the zoo,” he said.
PJA’s principals Patrick Janikowski and Jim Brighton had leading roles in designing the animal exhibits in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which many consider to have set new standards for habitat representation.
The firm designed Animal Kingdom’s Conservation Station, an interpretive animal nursery with behind-the-scenes views.
At the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, the firm designed an orangutan exhibit that features an enrichment device that allows the apes to activate a spray nozzle to cool off visitors on the exhibit’s boat rides.
The firm also designed six new panda habitats at the Giant Panda Breeding Center in Wolong China.
The firm designed master plans for zoos in Columbus; Buffalo; Jackson, Miss.; Oakland, Calif.; Norfolk, Va.; and in several foreign countries, including the Netherlands; Tunisia; Guyana; Canada; China and Singapore.
Janikowski said the master plan would be unique to Greenville and not copy plans the firm has done for other zoos.
He did say the plan might include ideas proposed but not adopted by other zoos.
Greenville Zoo officials said public input would be sought for the master plan.
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