BIG, in collaboration with Schønherr Landscape Architects and MOE, has revealed designs for a new yin-yang-shaped panda enclosure at the Copenhagen Zoo that will serve as the new home of two Chinese giant pandas upon their arrival in 2018.
Located between several existing buildings, including the award-winning Elephant House by Foster + Partners, the circular shaped habitat will be split to create separate enclosures for the male and female pandas; to increase the probability of mating, partnered pandas should not be able to see, hear or even smell each other for the majority of the year.
“It’s part of our DNA to let everyone from zookeepers, to gardeners and vets, influence the design and function of the facilities to secure the well-being of our animals. The team understood our approach and successfully integrated it into their design process to create a world-class home for these adored Pandas.”
To provide the pandas with as peaceful a living environment as possible and to provide the ideal conditions for mating (one of the major challenges associated with panda preservation), the enclosures have been designed to feel like “humans are the visitors in the pandas’ home, rather than pandas being the exotic guests from faraway lands.” The interiors will resemble the animal’s natural terrain, with both a dense ‘mist forest’ and lighter green bamboo forest that will allow the pandas to move back and forth depending on season and temperature – just like they do on the hilly slopes of western China.
The design of the Panda House also optimizes the human experience. Two separate levels – a ground floor with a restaurant and access to interior spaces, and an upper floor leading around a rocky slope with Nordic plantings – will give visitors a variety of perspectives into the habitat, and allow for a full sense of immersion within nature. Barriers and functional spaces are carefully hidden or integrated into the landscape, giving both guests and the pandas a natural, non-distracting viewing condition. By lifting the earth at both ends of the male and female enclosure, the yin and yang shape is created, offering an undulating landscape with direct views. In addition, the building will give unique insight into the work of the zookeepers.
“Architecture is like portraiture. To design a home for someone is like capturing their essence, their character and personality in built form. In the case of the two great Pandas, their unique solitary nature requires two similar but separate habitats - one for her and one for him,” said Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.
“The habitat is formed like a giant yin and yang symbol, two halves: the male and the female, complete each other to form a single circular whole. The curvy lines are undulating in section to create the necessary separation between him and her - as well as between them and us. Located at the heart of the park, we have made the entire enclosure accessible from 360 degrees, turning the two pandas into the new rotation point for Copenhagen Zoo.”
The new Panda House will encompass a total of 1,250 square meters of indoor space and 1,200 square meters of outdoor space. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year, after approval of the 150 million DKK ($22 million USD) construction budget. The project will be completed prior to the pandas arrival in 2018.
News via BIG.
LocationRoskildevej 32, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Partners in ChargeBjarke Ingels, David Zahle
Project LeadersNanna Gyldholm Møller, Ole Elkjær-Larsen, Kamilla Heskje
TeamMaja Czesnik, Pawel Bussold, Jinseok Jang, Gökce Günbulut, Christian Lopez, Luca Senise, Høgni Laksáfoss, Sofia Sofianou, Carlos Soria, Victor Bejenaru, Claus Rytter Bruun de Neergaard, Gabrielé Ubareviciute, Eskild Schack Pedersen, Richard Howis, Tore Banke, Tobias Hjortdal, Joos Jerne, Hanne Halvorsen, Tommy Bjørnstrup, Joanna Plizga
PhotographsCourtesy of BIG