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Four Seasons Modernization

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Turner Construction Company

66 Hudson Boulevard East

New York, NY 10001

(212) 229-6000

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Project overview

Business Unit(s)


Year Completed



Indianapolis Zoo

Client Industry


Scope of Work

New Construction


Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects

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Indianapolis Zoo Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center

Award Winning Zoo Exhibit

Named the winner of the 2014 Indiana Innovation Award, the center has been called one of the most significant zoo exhibits anywhere in the world!

Turner, Browning Day and the Zoo collaborated to create a unique, state-of-the art exhibit. Our goal was simple – give the orangutans spaces that function as trees to allow them to express their normal behaviors for optimal physical, physiological, and intellectual health. The team went to the primates’ native habitat for inspiration.

From material selection to layout of the exhibit, we successfully mimicked the environment of a forest without trying to emulate the look of the real thing. Because orangutans prefer to dwell high up in the forest canopy, the design provided them with multiple opportunities for vertical and lateral movement within and outside the center.

Sustainable features include an 8,000 sq. ft. green roof that helps manage stormwater and extends the longevity of the roof assembly, in addition to the use of groundwater source heat pumps that utilize well water for natural heating and cooling.

The main exhibit tower “leans forward” and allows the orangutans to climb above patrons sitting in the lowest parts of a plaza. Access to mid- and lower-level areas is provided through graceful arching and accessible ramps on either side. The exhibit allows its inhabitants to ascend a 75-foot-tall climate-controlled interior viewing space, access two outdoor yards, and freely traverse and nest about an outdoor network of masts, cables and platforms. 

The sheer strength and intelligence of the orangutans dictated the use of a multitude of creative material and mechanical solutions to create a safe and delightful environment.