Indianapolis Zoo Orangutan Holding Facilities

Indianapolis, Indiana

When six orangutans arrived earlier than expected, the Indianapolis Zoo turned to Pepper to provide functional and durable temporary housing for Knobi, Azy, Lucy, Rocky, Katy and Charly. The construction of new temporary facilities for the Zoo’s new orangutans included modifications to the existing avian and vet buildings and construction of a new outdoor exercise area. Reconfiguration of the avian building consisted of a complete interior demolition, build-back of a day room and five holding cages and new lighting, finishes, HVAC and plumbing. With the deadline of when the orangutans would arrive quickly approaching, the team focused heavily on schedule management and worked closely with the Zoo staff to streamline project efforts and ensure the finished facilities would be completed on time per the animal keepers’ needs. 

Creating a Custom Cage

The project team collaborated with the Zoo and specialty contractors to design interior and exterior holding spaces that maximized functionality and the utilization of space. During the design process, several electronic 3D models were shared with the Zoo to illustrate the overall cage size, structure placement, mesh type and enrichment platform locations. Keepers provided input on the size of animal transfer doors and the location of the orangutan beds and water valves. Specialty contractors were also employed to perform welding inspections on the cages and confirm cage column and beam sizes – ensuring the cages durability while housing the orangutans.

Owner: Indianapolis Zoological Society
Architect: Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects