Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



Committee Chair

Michael K Chisamore

Committee Member

Pamela J Hurley


The purpose of this thesis is to explore how the built enviornment can improve the natural, emotional and social behavior of the African Elephant species while fostering increased human interaction and empathy. The growing resistance against the capture and confinement of wild elephants by animal rights activists has prompted zoos to increase their standards for elephant confinement. The need to renovate and expand elephant habitats has become a primary concern for the zoo industry. As of March 2011, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has updated the standards for elephant management and care. Zoo standards for the treatment and care of elephants have been set high to ensure the well-being of elephants in captivity. Many zoos worldwide have opted to discontinue their elephant exhibits due to a lack of space and/or resources needed for animals of this magnitude. Due to these issues, the Memphis Zoo has decided rather than discontinue their exhibit, to expand and renovate its current Elephant exhibit. The Elephant exhibit at the Memphis Zoo has become unsafe by today's standards. The Memphis Zoo is aware of its outdated exhibit because of the presence of an old moat, the obsolete and confined layout and the lack of space needed for the desired increase in the number of animals. They believe it is vital to renovate and expand the exhibit for the well-being of its elephant herd. The goals of this renovation and expansion are: to support African Elephant conservation and research, to provide a physiological, psychological, and socially fulfilling environment for the elephants and a safe environment for the staff. It also aims to increase the public's knowledge and understanding of elephants and the importance of conservation.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.