Bronx Zoo Lion House

Bronx Zoo Lion House
Location Bronx, N.Y.
Built 1903
Renovated To be completed
in June
Architect FXFOWLE
LEED Rating Pending

When it first opened, the Lion House at the Bronx Zoo—with its skylights, wood floors, and underground mechanism for conveying animals from one state-of-the-art cage to another—was hailed by The New York Times as "the finest building in the world to be erected for such a purpose." Two decades ago, the big cats moved on to more spacious digs. But in June, after a complete green transformation, the 20,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts building will again house animals—lemurs, tortoises, a massive crocodile, among them—this time amid flora native to Madagascar.

The Lion House at the Bronx Zoo


The project, the first to be completed under the zoo's green master plan, is expected to earn a LEED gold rating. High-tech adjustable skylights will expose animals to necessary UV light without overheating the displays, and recycled water and low-flow fixtures will cut water consumption by 53 percent. Engineers have constructed a geothermal system that uses water running through underground pipes for heating and cooling, as well as a heat-recovery system on the building's fuel cell generator. The building is also being tied into the zoo's energy-efficient central heat and power generation plant to boost heating power in the winter. "The most difficult thing was fitting all those various systems into an existing infrastructure," project manager Paul A. Tapogna says.


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