Ursa International

10 directions - the art of patience



My last post was in Last Year! but it's not that there isn't anything going on….

Since early 2014, we've primarily been focused on the Cyclorama (above) with it's 10-sided space at the front door of Zoo Atlanta. The project is going to create a huge new plaza at the current entry plaza and remove the hideous Administration building, renovate the Cyclorama into the new Administration offices and a 1000 person 2 story event space overlooking a new expanded Savanna, with a new huge elephant barn and habitat. It's a huge project and has been a challenge to hang on.

At Ursa, the current project list is diverse. The 10 sided Cyclorama seems to have given us the ability to work on many directions at once. I would say we've been busy in at least ten different directions. Both Gail and I have had so many great projects to be involved with and really reaching new audiences and partners. I'm a lucky guy to work with so many talented and devoted people. Makes working fun and easy, but you have to be patient and wait - but good things are always happening.

But back to the NUMBERS - Let's see if 10 is the actual number.

  1. Zoo Atlanta Elephant habitat - DD pricing is just being received so I won't spoil the surprise, let's assume everything has grow. Great project with huge support and positive PR - even the neighbors love it. It's going to transform Zoo Atlanta.
  2. Zoo Atlanta Lorikeet walk-through - fast concept plan to determine budgets and timelines - on track to complete within a month. Since we had to use the Parakeet site for the Elephants -the zoo wants to replace that experience at another site.
  3. The Nest - completing documents for a new children's nursery garden for construction this summer -waiting on costing exercise happening now. Working with my friend David to build the exterior environment for a new Nursery School on the ATL Beltline.
  4. Ellen Trout Zoo - Gorilla exhibit concept design for new complex in Lufkin, Tx working with buddy Mark Robertson to wrap up shortly. We designed a great exhibit with large enclosures and open managment areas. All they need is $$ .
  5. Chimp Haven - Best Sanctuary for chimps anywhere - preparing to expand - everything costs so much - we have cut our plan in half - but maintain the same number of chimps. Not yet settled down for me to speculate our next step there.
  6. San-Lee Nature Center - My friend Kristen's firm was hired to design a replacement for their burned Main Building with a new Museum/Admin space plus a free standing Raptor center - being bid now. Hope to be surprised that we can afford to build it.
  7. Mass Audubon - A new Red Fox habitat with homestead Cabin on the edge of the farm and the forest, waiting for construction to begin. This one's budget is so small and they are going to get such a huge Bang of the Buck - it should be great.
  8. Monkey Jungle - their first new facility improvement is conceived, designed and promoted and we wait for funding to appear.
  9. Marine Sanctuary - just recently been asked to conceive of a place where marine mammals from aquariums and rescue be living together in a 'sanctuary' for their whole lifes - Like Chimp Haven for Dolphins. This is going to be huge.
  10. Tanzania Zoo in Dare es Salaam - a 5 day concept planning charette to design an African Safari concept with Lodge. Gail and I designed our first "Peace Zoo" in none other than a City named - City of Peace. Now we wait to see if he can get support for continuing. You'll be the first to hear about further developments in Tanzania!
There may be some trends through all these recent projects -
  • they are all under-funded for their ultimate dreams - even thought they are so well meaning.
  • they are all just waiting to Transform their individual institutions (and City's in some case and Industries in others.)
  • they all (well most) involve the top leaders in their specific area.
  • they take a huge amount of patience in order to see them through.
Next time - I promise it will still be 2016, I will update on the status of my 10 directions/projects! And how the 10-sided structure is progressing.