Annual Review 2019
  • Project Name Roo Valley at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
  • Location Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Owner Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
  • Architect Gregory Gates Architecture
  • Civil Engineer IBI Group
  • MEP Engineer Motz Engineering
  • Structural Engineer Schaefer Engineering
  • Aquatic Life Support Services Satchell Engineering and Associates

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden set their course to become the first Net Zero zoo by 2025. What they needed was a partner with the same tenacity to achieve a higher level of sustainability, as well as the right technology to help them get there.

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Mark Fisher Portrait

Mark Fisher, Vice President - Facilities, Planning, and Sustainability at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The mission and vision of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden are dedicated to creating adventure, conveying knowledge, conserving nature and serving the community.

This past year, we’ve been carefully planning for the construction of Roo Valley to make the work as straightforward as possible. To achieve this, we employed the use of the latest technology, including drones and photogrammetry, virtual reality, augmented reality and energy modeling. Working closely with the keepers, horticulture staff, architects and engineers, we’ve helped them envision the space and fine-tune the design from every possible angle.

When you’re surrounded by the lush vegetation and exotic animals of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, it’s easy to forget you’re actually in the heart of downtown, but it’s all part of the unique design.

"Hops on Tap" offers a beautiful view of the habitat, with just a hint of the city skyline in the distance.

In addition to its own restaurant, the habitat will feature a high-ropes course that looks out across Roo Valley. The course is designed to be accessible to all, including those in wheelchairs, which is the first of its kind in the Midwest.

As visitors walk down a winding path, they will encounter gray kangaroos, and then be led into the new home of the little blue penguins, before exiting onto the roof of the blue penguin building.

Rainwater System

In addition to a unique and more accessible design for the habitat, the zoo has even bigger plans to drastically reduce its consumption of potable water from the city by capturing and reusing 100% of the rainwater that hits the ground. This "never been done before" idea will capture, clean and reuse approximately 4 acres of watershed. They also plan to install a geothermal well system for heating and cooling.

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The team is pushing the boundaries on how technology brings these new ideas to life. They re-engineered the entire process of how exhibits are designed, estimated and constructed so that everyone from trade partners to the owner could integrate ideas sooner and visualize the results immediately.

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