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Students work on design for zoo project

Miami architecture students have been working with Scott Johnston (architecture and interior design) to design a canopy for the two Sumatran rhinos that live at the Cincinnati Zoo.

“These animals are native to the forests of Indonesia where there is a much more continuous tree canopy,” said Johnston, “and their eyes are accustomed to lower light levels and less ultraviolet radiation.”

The zoo contracted with Cincinnati firm Glaserworks Architects to design a canopy to mimic the trees to use in the rhino’s outdoor exhibit area. Glaserworks in turn asked the Miami students to evaluate the design.

The design, a vertical banner system, resembles a window blind and is adjustable to block sunlight at different times of the day and different times of the year. The students mapped the zoo site, made models and did a computer analysis to evaluate fluctuations in light and determine the effectiveness of the design. Participants are graduate student Amy Pierson and seniors Dan Kostka, Chelsea Neidenthal and Eric Claus.

Students presented their research in late October to a 12-member panel that included Paul Duffy, a principal with Glaserworks and the architect in charge of the project, and zoo officials including Terri Roth, vice president for animal science, head keeper Paul Reinhart and John Dinon, director of animal conservation programs.

The student suggestions will be incorporated into the final design and zoo officials hope to have the structure in place in late spring or early summer 2004.

The zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), directed by Roth, has enjoyed success in working with many species. A rhino calf born in 2001 marked the first successful captive breeding effort in a century. All five of the world’s rhinoceros species are considered either endangered or threatened with extinction.

Glaserworks was founded in 1958 and has contributed to several notable design and renovation projects throughout the Midwest and Cincinnati projects including the zoo, Playhouse in the Park, Music Hall and the Cincinnati Art Museum. The firm has received more than 30 design awards from local and state chapters of the American Institute of Architects.

Date Published: 11/20/2003
Volume: 23   Number: 16

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