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Crystal Collado, Assoc. AIA

Crystal Collado leverages her background in animal habitat design to support BKP’s growing portfolio of zoo projects. While she has led design and managed construction administration for projects to house rhinos, primates, sea lions, and other creatures, Crystal believes human collaboration becomes the real differentiator in work that balances animal welfare with exhibit friendliness. She values the perspectives of zookeepers, landscapers, and maintenance crews for the insights they add to architecture that supports animal husbandry, animal enrichment, and guest education.

Crystal works closely with landscape architects and engineers to incorporate sustainability into her work. She believes zoo design provides a critical path to understanding and preserving animals’ natural habitats while providing visitors with education about the effects of climate change and humans’ impact on the world. This sensitivity has made her more aware of conservation and sustainable design opportunities on projects of any type. Considerations such as bird-friendly glazing, natural daylighting, native plantings, and the impacts of grading all factor into her concepts. As one who appreciates careful documentation, Crystal also enjoys producing drawings and refining technical nuances.

A Chicago native and animal lover, Crystal raised funds for animal welfare as a past participant in the Herman Miller Magis Puppy Challenge. She has three dogs, three sugar gliders, a hedgehog, and a hermit crab – all of which live with her in Northern Liberties and star on their own Instagram account. In her free time, Crystal enjoys cooking, baking, drawing, and painting.