After three years of planning and fundraising and two years of construction, the new Gorilla World has opened to the public. The project’s first phase included outdoor modifications that allowed for the new gorilla building. To further accentuate the exhibit’s rolling topography, the renovated exterior space showcases refinished rock, additional new simulated rockwork, authentic looking vines, and a stream and waterfall. The space was also re-landscaped.
The new building’s floor-to-ceiling windows allow significant natural light and prime viewing of the interior multi-story habitat. This space provides excellent on-exhibit viewing during the colder winter months in Cincinnati. The interior habitat includes two 30’ tall x 8’ diameter steel and shotcrete buttress trees (with extensive built-in enrichment branching), simulated rockwork, and 400 linear feet of 2 inch diameter vines. Faux fallen logs also provide enrichment opportunities.
COST’s fifth consecutive project with the zoo began with preconstruction and continued through exhibit construction. The pre-con team was heavily involved during the design phase and assisted in budgeting, shop drawings, engineering, and ¼” scale models. “Once models and engineering were complete, our steel shop began fabricating the structural steel system for the trees and branches,” said John Hawkinson from COST. “This reduced site construction scheduling by several weeks” added Hawkinson.
An in-depth overview of the project can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbFkfvIDu6c.
The project was a collaborative effort between the zoo staff, Dean Violetta (zoo architect), HGC Construction, COST, and architectural firm Gregory Gates Architect.