• Duration: 2 years

  • Location: National Zoo, Washington, DC

  • Owner: Smithsonian Institution

  • Value: Over $20 million

HSU constructed the $20 million rehabilitation, restoration, and upgrade of the Elephant Community Center. The 19,000 sf facility received LEED Gold certification. The historic Elephant House was originally built in 1937 and many historic elements were restored and maintained. Other elements include interior strengthening of existing stone walls and conversion of existing interior space into elephant stalls with hydraulic containment measures.

HSU worked with the Zoo, the designers, and elephant specialists to fully analyze the areas which would be accessible to the elephants. Armor and other design modifications were fabricated and installed to protect the elephants, the structure, and all of their human friends. This included installation of 11 gauge steel on all ductwork, so that the elephants cannot crush their HVAC system.

LEED elements included the use of geothermal heat, an over-sized operable skylight, green roof, and elephant-controlled showers.