If you were driving around downtown Indianapolis late last week, you might have noticed something new on the Circle City skyline. The International Orangutan Center at the Indianapolis Zoo topped off at its highest point – 150 feet above grade – when the the Beacon of Hope was raised and set atop the world’s premiere Orangutan exhibit / research facility.
At 75 feet in height and weighing approximately 12.5 tons, you may wonder: What purpose does the Beacon of Hope serve for the project?
Surely, a grand gesture such as the spire is not germane to the functional program of the exhibit center. However, it also clearly adds a new skyline-enhancing signature to the downtown. In addition to its directly cultural and conservation-related influences, the Indianapolis Zoo recognized that the project’s architectural solution needed to make a visible impact on the Indianapolis community – it needed to draw attention and serve as a generator of conversation between locals and visitors.
The Indianapolis Zoo believes that the story and iconography of the Beacon of Hope will raise awareness and prompt action near and far. At night, the Beacon of Hope will be illuminated by LED lights that the orangutans will turn on themselves, reminding Indianapolis that there is still hope for the species – and that hope is centered on our community.