Gruzen Samton LLP Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, Exhibits
Overview: The Carl F. Kauffeld House of Reptiles, located in an expanded and renovated wing of the 1930’s WPA exhibit hall of the Staten Island Zoo, houses their renowned reptile collection, which includes aquatic, venomous, and non-venomous snakes and invertebrates. With over 200 species and specimens, the new serpentarium exhibits emphasize bio-diversity, and its facilities showcase and support the reptiles in their “native” habitats.
Sustainable Features: To accomplish this, the design has created very specific environments – variously warm, hot, dry, wet – for over 40 separate exhibits/cages. The building is expected to save 20% over its energy baseline despite the heavy heat demand, using measures such as zoned controls, envelope improvements, heat recovery, new burners for the existing boilers and premium efficiency motors. Radiant-heated artificial rocks are used extensively in the exhibit cages, a more energy efficient way to keep the reptiles warm than the previous heat lamps. And new skylights and clerestories bring in daylight for the anaconda, aquatic and desert exhibits where the light and temperature variations are acceptable.
With the reptiles comfortable, the building also supports the other two user groups–public visitors and zoo keepers. Separate HVAC systems and controls serve the visitor areas. The electric lighting for the viewers is subdued, utilizing light from the exhibits, skylights and clerestory. The zoo keeper work areas are located along the exterior walls, taking advantage of the natural light and operable windows of the existing building.
The predominant interior materials have recycled content and the display casework is made of bamboo material. There was limited opportunity to save on potable water use, however, because reptiles need very pure water (minimal recirculation) and the wing has no rest rooms.
Located in Clove Hill, Staten Island, New York. 16,000 gross square feet (7,500 sf addition + 8,500 sf renovation) in a campus setting. Construction cost of
$15,250,000. Building completion Fall 2006 (Design commenced 2000).
Client Agencies: NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; NYC Department of Design & Construction.