San Francisco Zoo: Master Plan & Exhibits
San Francisco, California


A series of master plans and updates between 1986 and 1994 has completely revamped the San Francisco Zoo. Its new structure is both academic and physical. In terms of academic program, the zoo draws from its conservation ethics and commitment to its adopted theme -- the concept of Zoo WEB (World Education for Biodiversity) to integrate the zoo's programs and personnel into a "web" of interconnecting parts to promote conservation in everyday life.  Physically, the zoo is organized along along a central open space and interpretive spine. Cultural gateways lead to corresponding biogeographic regions and to immersive habitat experiences of a diverse animal collecton. The primary goal is to engage zoo visitors to action. 



Indian Monsoon Exhibit

Animals associated with the seasonally flooded tropical deciduous and evergreen forests of Asia are the theme of this $24 million exhibit. The adventure begins along the river's edge in forest pockets where chital, muntjac, langer and barasingha reside. On the marshy river floodplain, elephants and rhinos can be seen among the tall grasses. Storks, kingfishers, python, giant squirrel and waterfowl complete the immersion experience. Further, the river descends in waterfalls forming caves for bats, cascades for otters and sandbars for tigers. Closing the Asian encounter are hornbill, siamang and the "old man of the forest", the orang-utan.

Project credits: Master Plan:John Swanson, Principal-in-charge, Lead Designer while with Portico, Inc.

Indian Monsoon Exhibit: John Swanson, Principal, Lead Designer while with Portico, Inc. in conjunction with Rhodes, Dahl and EHDD Architects.