Albert Kahn Associates Polk Penguin Conservation Center

Imitating nature is a formidable task reserved for a select few. The need for a livable ecosystem where indoor life must be supported at 37 degrees Fahrenheit made it a challenge, but the addition of the 365,000 gallon water tank made it strenuous. The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is the largest facility of its kind in the world and home to over 80 penguins. From its inception, the exterior form was uniquely focused on an abstraction of the Antarctic landscape. The massing of the building was inspired by Tabular Icebergs seen in Antarctica. The facade is made of a layered system which functions similarly to a penguin’s coat of feathers. This facility also educates the public about threatening climate change that affects penguins. With its unique design and the use of remarkable technology, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center is considered an architectural and engineering marvel.