Fall 2015 Student Lecture Series: Daniel Overbey

Can Zoological Facilities Be Sustainable? Exploring Trans-Species Design at the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center

Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center

Photo Credit: Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf

  • 08/12/2015

  • 5:30 PM 

  • Cascieri Hall
    Boston Architectural College
    320 Newbury Street

  • communications@the-bac.edu

  • Free and open to the public

  • Alumni, Students, Lectures

The Boston Architectural College invites the community to join us for a public lecture by Dan Overbey, AIA, on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 5:30 pm in Cascieri Hall.

Abstract: The biodiversity of the Earth is declining at an alarming rate. The rapid loss of species we are experiencing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the historic natural extinction rate. This rapid rate of decline further compounds the need for sustainable practices and mandates new approaches to conservation that communicates to the global community the crucial interdependence of plants, animals, people, and the environment.

In particular, Orangutans may become the first Great Ape species to become extinct in the wild within the next decade. Their population has declined 92% over the past century due to habitat loss and a slow reproductive cycle. In response, the Indianapolis Zoological Society has pursued a vision to address these conservation concerns. They hired the former Director of Orangutan Research at the Great Ape Trust and secured funding to realize a state-of-the-art Orangutan research and exhibit facility.

For Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects, the invitation to design the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center—which was highlighted by CNN as one of the top 50 travel destinations of 2014—came with a tremendous sense of responsibility, prompting the team to examine the primates' native habitat for inspiration. The challenge to achieve a design solution optimized for two different species was complicated - and largely unprecedented. Historically, zoological facilities have been underfunded and poorly designed, exhibiting little forethought regarding the physical and social needs of the species being held. For the International Orangutan Center the design team sought an architecturally significant solution that reconciled these needs with stringent federal requirements, pragmatic concerns, and the sheer strength and intelligence of the Orangutans. All the while, for project architect Daniel Overbey - the Director of Sustainability at Browning Day - a fundamental question loomed: Can zoological facilities ever be truly sustainable? His answer may surprise you.

See this project featured in The Boston Globe

Daniel Overbey (@danieloverbey), AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, O+M is the Director of Sustainability for Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects in Indianapolis. His practice and writing focuses on high-performance building design and construction, applied research in environmental systems, LEED-related services, and energy modeling. He has been published in USGBC+, High Performing Buildings, EcoBuilding Pulse, Architecture Las Vegas, Environmental Design + Construction, and many other outlets. Overbey, a recipient of the 2014 AIA Young Architects Award, is also a building science educator at the Boston Architectural College's Sustainable Design Institute and the Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning.

Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center

Photo Credit: Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf

Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center

Photo Credit: Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf