Engineering the Heart of the Zoo

23 May 2019
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The Kathrine G. McGovern Texas Wetlands Exhibit, part of Houston Zoo’s overall “Heart of the Zoo” redevelopment project, is opening to the public in time for Memorial Day celebrations. Serving as home to wildlife such as bald eagles, alligators, and whooping cranes, the lush habitat borders Cypress Circle Café. Patrons will now be able to enjoy food offerings while basking in the beauty of the newly created wetland.

Walter P Moore’s civil engineering team has worked with the Houston Zoo for almost two decades creating a master plan to repair and create new infrastructure in an effort to improve the facility’s resiliency. “A large challenge was working within a developed zoo,” comments Director of Design Ted Vuong. “We had to leave portions open for visitors and employees as well as preserving landmark aspects such as the Cypress tree in the center of the café.”

Partnering with Houston Zoo and the rest of the project team, Walter P Moore is looking forward to the continued revitalization expected from this iconic Houston landmark. While many commonly understand civil engineering to be roads, streets, or bridges, the team has seen these exhibits as an opportunity to showcase the dynamic levels of what infrastructure can accomplish. “We are creating art,” adds Vuong. “What we do puts the public in our design. They are a user of the design; everything about what we do impacts and touches the public.”

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