Royal Oak, Michigan
42,000 GSF, 3,902 M2
Architecture, Engineering, Interior Architecture, Lighting Design, Programming
Today's world-class zoos demand designs that inspire a child's imagination while creating a sophisticated cultural venue for all. SmithgroupJJR pulled off this special balancing act with the latest thinking in environmental stewardship and wildlife conservation at the Ford Center north of Detroit.
Going a step farther, the firm created a participatory, immersive zoological experience with varied functional zones connected by an airy, two-story atrium. A discovery lab and Wild Adventure Simulator ride create memorable encounters, reinforced by education in classrooms and a 250-seat theater. Its three distinct functional areas are immediately recognizable in the building's shape and convenient layout: education wing, arts wing, and adventure ride.
The result is a wood-clad, modern venue for multiple uses that appeals to school groups and Zoological Society members alike. It has been a magnet for a growing audience of zoo visitors, too. Its environmentally conscious, energy-saving design directly reflects the Institute's conservation mission, with lots of fresh air, natural materials and economical operations.
Detroit Zoo Ford Center Programs
Learn more about the educational programs offered at the Detroit Zoo's Ford Education Center.