FXFowle Architects • The Wildlife Conservation Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife, and its new, 40,000-square-foot Center for Global Conservation at the Bronx Zoo will serve as the command center for the group’s conservation work worldwide. The client wanted the facility to represent its commitment to sustainable practices by means of environmentally sound architectural design and operations.
To that end, the client worked with FXFowle Architects to integrate the building into the topography and ecosystem, after choosing a site on the northern edge of a clearing surrounded by deciduous trees. The center uses passive strategies, such as solar orientation and self-shading, to minimize energy use. A wood screen and concrete overhang shade the east façade from the summer sun. A double-glazed, low-E curtain wall minimizes thermal loss and solar gain. Juror Bill Valentine admired several features: “It’s unbelievably simple … and it just nestled right into the land. It’s very open and unassuming.”
The building’s elongated form strengthens the connection between occupants and the landscape. Conference rooms and informal meeting spaces are located along the perimeter and open onto outdoor terraces on the upper floors. “And the detailing is very elegant,” juror Donna Robertson added, noting “the edge of the stairs and the way they step down, this inside-outside move of the terracing.” The center achieved LEED Gold certification.