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Innovators Planning for the Future
This month’s employee spotlight shines on Mr. Craig Rhodes, Director of our Zoo and Aquarium division, a man who needs no introduction. Craig’s journey in architecture began with tree house construction and a misadventure with a 5th grade book report. Unknowingly, Craig picked up a book about Frank Llyod Wright instead of the Wright brothers. Little did he know that this mistake would ignite his passion for architecture and shape his career and the rest of his life.
A glimpse into Craig’s day-to-day at GLMV consists of a regiment of getting up at 5am to exercise and prepare for the day, and then arrives to the office to organize his daily priorities. As Zoo and Aquarium division lead, it’s his job to focus on business development as well as the overall design of the zoological exhibits. Designing such exhibits requires thought in every detail and as lead, it is Craig’s job to mentor his team to think through those zoological priorities as well.
The Zoo and Aquarium division spans across the US, along with their clients, so Craig and his team are often communicating throughout the day. However, he wouldn’t have it any other way as designing for zoos & aquariums has him designing natural architecture, and that’s something he feels he was meant to do.
Craig draws inspiration from wanting to change how zoos & aquariums care and house animals. His goal is to immerse both animals and guests in an environment that captivates their senses. When designing specifically for a project Craig is inspired by the natural environment, the site of where the exhibit will be, but most importantly, he draws inspiration from the Client. Craig says, “… when the client hires us, there is some vision. By the time they have gotten to us they’ve thought about it. The goal is to unpack that something and bring that dream to a reality because without them we have nothing.”
Among the many projects Craig has undertaken, his favorite project is the 1997 Master Plan for the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. The 19-year master plan gave birth to iconic attractions such as the Pride of the Plains, the Downing Gorilla Forest, and the Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit.
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