Let there be light (in the Jungle Building)

Indoor bird exhibit

May 17, 2015 • Candace Wilson • Sustainable Design, Zoos + Aquariums

When Sedgwick County Zoo noticed a decline in the breeding habits of its jungle birds, it didn’t take long to determine that low levels of UV light were the likely culprit. TESSERE was enlisted to renovate the existing jungle building, one of the Zoo’s most popular features, in a way that brought the sunlight indoors.

The answer came in the form of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), a lightweight, durable, transparent plastic polymer that can be used in place of traditional glass. This material is optimal for energy retention, can last for decades, and will allow for better light transmission, improving both lliving conditions for jungle inhabitants and guest experience.

The transformation doesn’t stop at the roof. The entire jungle building infrastructure is being overhauled to include new HVAC, mechanical, and electrical systems. And all-new planting and habitats will combine to create a new, improved guest experience.

Roof construction is nearly complete, and the building will reopen to the public in mid 2015.