Regenstein Macaque Forest

In collaboration with The Portico Group as exhibit, site and landscape designer, IDEA provided the design of the public buildings and animal holding structures. The macaque exhibit replicates the animals’ Japanese natural forested mountainside habitat, including an artificial hot spring soaking area. The public enjoys protected panoramic views through huge glass panels in the two viewing shelters. A new state-of-the-art animal holding building is buried under the exhibit landscape contours. Also linked to the exhibit is an event building with public restrooms that contains a multi-purpose meeting room with a large viewing window into the exhibit. Adjacent to the exhibit, a new west entrance to the zoo was designed with a new gate structure and a plaza providing tables and seating under a canopy of trees around Eadie Levy Café. Another design element adding activity to the area is the new Lionel Train Adventure, with a traditional brick train station and a themed landscape ride through varying terrains.


Designing a naturalistic environment for the animals as well as incorporating leading edge scientific research elements and basic animal welfare provisions formed the crux of the project. There are two animal research areas where zoo staff can conduct cognitive experiments with the macaques: one area is hidden under the vertical contours of the exhibit, and the other is located inside one of the public viewing shelters offering visitors direct observation. Animal welfare provisions such as water drinkers, heated rocks, cool air sources, and food sources are all integrated in the design so as to not be seen by the visitor but easily accessible by the macaques.

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Awards & Recommendations

  • 2015 Brick in Architecture Award – Silver – Paving & Landscape Architecture
  • 2015 ENR Best Projects – Award of Merit – Cultural/Worship