Architecture is created for people, but how do we design beyond the human scale? With a renewed interest in biodiversity and animal habitats accelerated by the climate crisis, there is also the question of shelter and what it means to design spaces for interaction and rehabilitation. As architects look beyond structures for people, they are turning their attention to different kinds of enclosures and open spaces that rethink engagement with animals and their wellbeing.
Whether looking at the architecture of animals through shelters, zoo enclosures, or rehabilitation spaces, they all share a common focus on scale, experience, and environment. Showcasing habitat and enclosure systems from around the world, the following projects look at the relationship between animals and design. Differing widely in terms of program, they also have individual approaches to form and the surrounding context. Together, they begin to represent connections between experience, interaction and animal life.
Petting Farm / 70F Architecture
Most city parts of Almere, a city with almost 190.000 inhabitants, have a petting farm. In the 'den Uyl' park there used to be one, but it burned down in the early 80's, leaving only its concrete foundation. Early 2005, the design team was commissioned by the municipality of Almere to design a new petting farm on the exact location and the remaining foundation. The building was finally built using almost only sponsored money, and finished late 2008.
Educan School for Dogs, Humans and Other Species / Eeestudio + Lys Villalba
Sitting in amongst fields, in a rural environment transformed over recent decades by urban development and intensive pesticide-reliant agriculture, Educan School is trialing ways to recover the conditions of the ecosystem. While the two main classrooms are busy with dog-human pairs practicing agility or dog sports like Schutzhund, birds’ nest on the upper floor’s nest-facade, boasting ideal views and orientation.
Cat Café TRYST / Parallect Dedign
This cat café locates in the famous Tianzifang commercial area in Shanghai, it’s only has a narrow door connects with the street, main using space are located on the second and third floor. It’s not a typical commercial space design, it’s a renovation project of the old housing. Cats are the main users of the whole space every day. To provide a comfortable and playable space for cats and provide a chilling space for customers are the design target.
Animal Shelter / Collectief Noord
These are two animal-related buildings on the boundary between the industrial site Maatheide and the nature reserve the Lommelse Sahara: an animal shelter and a crematorium. The buildings lacked an attractive public reputation, hence their relocation to the industrial site, which in turn, was not accustomed to house public buildings. As an architecture assignment, the programs too were fairly unfamiliar and thus required research into new, meaningful typologies.
Vietnam BEAR Sanctuary / COLE
In a collaboration with Cát Tiên National Park, Free the Bears and Building Trust international, COLE have completed the design of a series of buildings serving to house bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and bear bile industry. The result is a modular, light filled, gabion structure aiming to fuse nature and functionality. The site was on the other side of a river meaning supplies had to be ferried across. A further challenge was the site being next to a heavily forested jungle hill, sitting in one of Vietnam’s largest national parks.
Equestrian Buildings / Seth Stein Architects + Watson Architecture+Design
Located amidst farmland and vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne, Seth Stein Architects (UK) and Watson Architecture + Design (Melbourne) were commissioned to design a new equestrian center. The client is based locally as well as in the UK and sought a scheme that whilst functional and practical would also be sympathetic to the landscape through its architectural form and use of materials intended to be durable and sustainable.
Stonnington Pound Development / Architecture Matters
Architecture Matters sought to negotiate the contrasting hard-edged urban and idyllic parkland settings surrounding the Stonnington Animal Pound site, responding to the contemporary architecture of the existing Pound building and adjacent Stonnington Depot complex, whilst meeting the projected requirements for sustainably housing the municipalities’ growing population of lost and abandoned cats in ‘best-practice’ accommodation.
Elephant House / Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners completed the Elaphant House at the Copenhagen Zoo for a group of Indian elephants. The Elephant House is covered with lightweight, glazed domes that enclosure spaces with a strong visual connection with the sky and changing patterns of daylight. The elephants can congregate here, or out in the adjacent paddocks. Broad public viewing terraces run around the domes externally, while a ramped promenade leads down into an educational space, looking into the enclosures along the way.