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Staten Island Zoo, Carl F. Kauffeld Hall of Reptiles, Exhibit Architect, 2007

The Reptile Wing went through a transformative expansion and renovation to its 1930’s WPA Exhibit Hall. As Exhibit Architect, Darby Curtis developed a design to de-mystify and educate the public about reptiles.

The design includes aquatic, desert, amphibian, invertebrate, and venomous and non-venomous snake exhibit areas, incorporating very specific – variously warm, hot, dry and wet – environments; successfully supporting three distinct user groups: the animals, the keepers, and public visitors. The exhibits emphasize bio-diversity, with interactive zones to learn about reptiles and their crucial role in our ecosystem. The Fear Zone follows a serpentine form which is reinforced by an architectural canopy suggesting a snake’s anatomy lit along its spine. The main intent is to eliminate the fear of reptiles, and dispel cultural misconceptions and myths through education and providing opportunities to interact with specimens. The visitor is led on an educational experience, winding through the body of a snake and its relationship to humans and the environment.


Women in the Design World: Work in Progress, an exhibition presented by the Sam Fos School of Design and Visual arts in conjunction with the Women in Architecture Symposium 2014.

Roberta Darby Curtis, AIA / Bachelor of Science, Architecture, 1982