Terri Meyer Boake BES BArch MArch LEED AP
Associate Professor :: Associate Director :: School of Architecture :: University of Waterloo

Metro Toronto Zoo

30th Anniversary 1974 - 2004

Joint Venture: Clifford Lawrie Bolton Ritchie Architects, Crang and Boake Architects, Ron Thom Architect, Yolles Engineers

Toronto, Ontario

Project Information:

The original buildings for the Metro Zoo were completed in 1974 as the result of a joint venture amongst several architectural firms. The zoo is different from many zoos in that the collections of animals and plants are located on a geographic basis, versus a species basis. The largest of the pavilions represent Africa (pictured above) and Malaysia. Smaller pavilions house the collections from the Americas and Australasia. A smaller pavilion devoted to the Malaysian Woods houses a changing collection of butterflies.

The structural system for the main pavilions (pictured herein) are based upon a primary structural steel frame, infilled with a lightweight tube structure (similar in concept and construction to a spaceframe). The roof alternates panels of glazing and standing seam metal roofing. The spaceframe like layer accommodates a roof that uses complex curved surfaces in its design.

Project Images: Malaysian Pavilion

Pictured here is the primary steel frame that supports the roof glazing.
This main steel structure is supported by large concrete columns. The structure steel in turn supports a triangulated grid of steel tubes.

View of the support of the primary structure.
Here you can see the curved planes of tubular steel that form the infill between the primary steel members, and provide support for the wood roof decking.

The resulting space relies on natural light to illuminate the animal habitats -- pictured here, the orangatun space.
Close up detail of the attachment of the tubular steel grid to the primary steel structure.
A secondary steel support system (white) bears on the primary system (green) to provide overall support for the roof glazing.
The structural steel system uses a straightforward language of attachment, all exposed, to create the interior architecture of the space.
Exterior view of the Malaysian Pavilion entrance.
The roof ridges incorporate operable vents to control heat build up in the pavilions.
Project Images: African Pavilion
Interior view of the African Pavilion.
View towards the ceiling showing the primary steel structure as it supports the wood roof decking that sits beneath the standing seam metal roof.
Detailed view of the primary steel system (primer coloured), and the secondary steel system (white) that supports the roof glazing.
View up into the daylit pavilion space.
View towards the main concrete support system to which the primary structural steel structure for the roof connects.
View into the gorilla habitat.
Entrance to the African Pavilion.
Close up view of the complex curves that make up the roof structure.


These images are for educational use only and may not be reproduced commercially without written permission. tboake@sympatico.ca

Updated July 19, 2005