Zoo Learning Center

City & County of Honolulu
Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu, Hawaii
Completed 2008

The design of the Zoo Learning Center building focuses on opportunities to connect with the natural world.  Daylighting and fresh air permeate the building, creating an optimal learning environment.  The classroom’s spacious interiors and simple shed roof open the building towards the outdoor lanai which is a link to the zoo activities, sights, and sounds.

Passive sustainable design elements connect the children and teachers to the outdoors. On temperate days, facilitators are able to open sliding glass doors to a protected lanai, creating a single sheltered room. During daytime operations, the electrical lights and air conditioning are not required. Natural ventilation and daylight are integrated into the design. At its onset, sustainability was an early project goal. Though LEED certification was not a project requirement, the building incorporates energy saving design, sustainable materials, and highly efficient electrical and mechanical systems. Benefits of this approach were twofold: environmental stewardship and long-term savings benefits to the City.


Honolulu Chapter, American Institute of Architects
Award of Excellence, 2009