Wildlife Conservation Center
In the northwest quadrant of the 265-acre Bronx Zoo, the new WCS Center for Global Conservation occupies 4.5 acres at Cope Lake adjacent to the Bronx River. A central ridge bisects the Zoo, which directs a large portion of the Zoo’s campus watershed through the project site.
The building was sensitively positioned to minimize disturbance to the site’s varied Schist outcroppings and its mature Oak woodland. The Center anticipates a Gold LEED certification through its comprehensive strategy in integrating building operations and systems with the site’s natural systems. The building emerges as a divide for water travelling to Cope Lake. This storm water drainage pattern dictates the landscape strategy which is about collecting, absorbing, filtering and slowing down water before its ultimate Bronx River destination. The upstream animal habitats and exhibition attractions were found to impact the valley’s water quality. A native “wet meadow” working as a bio filtration reveals the operation of one of the site’s natural processes as well as mitigating local water quality issues. This meadow establishes a common organizing landscape element that serves as the Center’s “front lawn.” By introducing a native wetland meadow within a restored Oak woodland, native habits will repopulate and demonstrate native habitat preservation and environmental conservation values that are central to WCS’s global mission.