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Zoo København Contemporary Architecture in Copenhagen Zoo

Discussion in 'Denmark' started by Toddy, 31 Dec 2010.

  1. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    The debate on aesthetics vs. functionality has been an ongoing one on ZooChat for quite some time now. While some zoos built strictly naturalistic exhibits others, with Copenhagen Zoo, being one of the leaders, are increasingly bringing in contemporary architecture as a main point when building new animal exhibits.

    Especially Copenhagen Zoo has since the start of this millennium focused on bringing in contemporary architecture in their new major exhibits, moving away from the naturalistic style they followed up until 1996.

    This thread is not meant to tell which is right or wrong but to give the ZooChatters on this forum a guide to the contemporary architecture of the 21st century in Copenhagen Zoo. More posts will follow shortly.
     
  2. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Giraffe House

    The Giraffe House

    Opening date: Spring 2002
    Size: Ca. 500 sq. meters (+ outdoor exhibit of around 2000 sq. meters).
    Total cost: 11.000.000 kr. = 1.475.000 € / 1.270.000 £ / 1.960.000 $ including outdoor exhibit. The Giraffe House itself cost 5.000.000 kr. (670.000 € / 577.000 £ / 890.000 $).
    Species: Reticulated giraffe, black-necked weaver, red-and-yellow barbet and Egyptian plover. Impalas also shared the giraffe’s outdoor exhibit.

    [​IMG]
    Picture borrowed from www.arkitekturbilleder.dk

    Copenhagen Zoo has had a long and productive history with reticulated giraffes with no less than 70 young giraffes born at the zoo since 1942. This house was the first to be built in the contemporary architecture style that would later come to dominate the old zoo. The house itself is a light, wooden building with lots of space inside for both visitors and animals. The keyword in the design is “air” and the building is very spacious. Glass windows in the roof also add to the light and “airy” atmosphere.

    [​IMG]

    The Giraffe House includes:

    • Indoor stall for giraffes (120 sq. meters) that can be divided into two, three or four separate stalls.
    • Sluice system where giraffes can be restrained and receive medical checks without the use of anesthesia.
    • Outdoor “terrace” of 140 sq. meters covered on three out of four sides where giraffes can go outside on the cold days and be protected from wind, rain and snow.
    • Visitor area with lots of space and benches where visitors can rest and observe the giraffes.
    • Indoor aviary for African savannah birds (20 sq. meters and around 8 meters tall) featuring black-necked weavers, red-and-yellow barbets and Egyptian plovers.
    • Staff room for the zookeepers working on the savannah.
    • Large storage room for hay and straw.

    [​IMG]

    The Giraffe House has room for a medium sized group of reticulated giraffes. At present date (December 2010) the group living the house numbers 7 individuals including recent breeding. The outdoor exhibit (which the giraffes shared with impalas) was in 2007 merged with the other savannah exhibits to form “grand savannah” greatly increasing the outdoor area available to both giraffes and antelopes.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2011
  3. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    It will be interesting to follow this thread; I for one will always favour contemporary architecture rather than half-hearted 'naturalistic' exhibits.
     
  4. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I had a feeling that you would spot this thread, Baldur ;) I am not sure how long it will take me to go through all the exhibits but I plan on highlighting four exhibits more.
     
  5. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Ibis Aviary

    Ibis Aviary

    Opening date: Spring 2004.
    Size: 135 sq. meters, height = 7 meters.
    Species: Red ibis, roseate spoonbill and black-necked stilt.

    The Ibis Aviary in Copenhagen Zoo is built along the same design principles as the Giraffe House; airy and natural looking. The main part of the building consists of the outdoor aviary shaped like a bank along a narrow stream with sand and trees.

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    [​IMG]

    The visitors experience the birds in their light outdoor area from a covered and rather dark area thus creating a certain “cinema” effect. The indoor holding area for the birds is located on top of the visitor area, partly to save space but also because it is more natural for the birds to seek upwards when they go to sleep. Inside the visitor area are signage and interactive educational displays about the birds in the aviary. The top floor also has a small observation post where students from the University of Copenhagen can do behavioural studies on the birds.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Ibis Aviary houses breeding groups of red ibis, roseate spoonbills and black-necked stilts creating a South American theme. However, these birds will leave their rather new aviary in 2011 to live in the new Flamingo Aviary (more on that later). It is yet unknown what will inhabit the Ibis Aviary in the future.
     
  6. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    African Aviaries

    African Aviaries

    Opening date: Summer 2004.
    Size: Four buildings with adjacent aviaries at around, totalling a size of around 1500 sq. meters.
    Species: Caracal, congo peafowl, hammerkop, black-necked weaver, red-and-yellow barbet, red-crested turaco, African pygmy goose, glossy starling, grey parrot and Abyssinian ground hornbill.

    The African Aviaries opened shortly after the Ibis Aviary and are very similar to the before mentioned, especially in design style and materials. However, unlike the Ibis Aviary the African Aviaries are not walkthrough exhibits but rather more traditional. The African Aviaries consists of three buildings and four outdoor aviaries. The buildings serve as indoor holding facilities for the animals and the public do not have access to these. The aviaries are arranged accordingly:

    Desert Aviary: Second-largest aviary. Interior is shaped to resemble a bush/desert landscape.
    Current species: Caracals.
    [​IMG]

    Rainforest Aviary 1: Smallest of the aviaries and have housed several different species of birds. Its main function is to serve as a breeding centre for congo peafowls along with Rainforest Aviary 2.
    Current species (Dec. 2010): Congo peafowl, hammerkop and black-necked weaver.
    [​IMG]

    Rainforest Aviary 2: Third-largest of the aviaries. Extremely lushly planted aviary with a small pond. Its main function is to serve as a breeding centre for congo peafowls along with Rainforest Aviary 1.
    Current species (Dec. 2010): Congo peafowl, red-crested turaco, African pygmy goose, glossy starling and red-and-yellow barbet.
    [​IMG]

    Savannah Aviary: The largest aviary. Sparsely planted to resemble a piece of an African savannah.
    Current species (Dec. 2010): Abyssinian ground hornbill and grey parrot.
    [​IMG]

    The African Aviaries has so far been quite successful in regards to animal welfare and has seen breeding from both caracals, Congo peafowls and Abyssinian ground hornbills. In my humble opinion they are one of the zoos most successful projects and manage to combine both architecture and a sense of naturalism.
     
  7. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for starting this thread Toddy, I find it very interesting.

    I think it's worth noting that Denmark is a a very design-conscious society with a strong tradition in this area so to me it makes sense that the zoo in the nation's capital city reflects this heritage.
     
  8. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Toddy: thanks very much for all of your hard work on this site, and even though you have been frustrated with the lack of progress on the ZooChat gallery and therefore refuse to upload any more photos you are doing marvellous work by posting informative material here. Cheers mate!
     
  9. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    Great thread, Toddy! I will be very excited to see if The Arctic Ring also will have some interesting, good modern architecture to show. Can´t wait to see that one finished!
     
  10. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back Dan! I won't promise that I'll agree with you in the new year any more than I did in the old one, but at least we can have some fun disagreeing about everything! :D
     
  11. Dan

    Dan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Baldur!
     
  12. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Hippo House

    Hippo House

    Opening date: October 2007
    Size: 1140 sq. meters (including outdoor pool)
    Cost: 80.000.000 kr. = 10.730.000 € / 9.240.000 £ / 14.342.000 $
    Species: Common hippopotamus

    The Hippo House opened in the fall of 2007 as the last part of the new “grand savannah” in Copenhagen Zoo. The main part of the Hippo House is the indoor exhibit for a small family of common hippopotami landscaped like an African river bank with tropical plants growing along the sides.

    [​IMG]

    The indoor exhibit is a very light environment due to the massive glass roof and glass walls bordering the exhibit. The visitors’ area is located in semi-darkness producing a slight “cinema effect”. A lot of thought was put into the concrete in this design, the goal being to make it look natural without resorting to mock rock (except in the exhibit itself). The indoor and outdoor pools essentially form the same pool and the hippos access their outdoor exhibit by swimming under the glass structure. This means that the outdoor pool is heated even in the winter and can be used all year round.

    [​IMG]

    The Hippo House features:

    • Indoor exhibit with large pool (220 sq. meters) and a small island.
    • Outdoor exhibit with pool (130 sq. meters) and small grazing area.
    • Three spacious backstage stalls with total size of 190 sq. meters used for feeding and separation.
    • Visitor area with lots of space (125 sq. meters) and underwater viewing.
    • 300 sq. meters of water filtration systems located in the basement and built to cleanse all of the water in the pool (400.000 litres) once an hour.
    • Keepers’ area and kitchen.

    [​IMG]

    The Hippo House was originally meant to house a few bird species along with hippos in the indoor exhibit. However, only two of these (hammerkops and glossy starlings) ever lived in the house. Both of these species had to move to the African Aviaries in 2009 and the mix was not successful. The smaller animals of the grand savannah still have access to the outdoor pool and animals such as antelopes, zebras and wildebeest and can frequently be seen sharing the grazing area with the hippos.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2011
  13. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to all of you replying to this thread. I figured that it would be an interesting topic and the aim is simply to provide you with a guide to the contemporary architecture of the 21st century in Copenhagen Zoo. I will reserve my own opinions on these exhibits but would be glad to hear yours. The next exhibit will be split into several posts as it is "créme de la créme": The Elephant House :)

    Oh, and welcome back, Dan. Good to have you on board again!
     
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2011
  14. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Elephant House

    Elephant House

    Opening date: June 2008
    Total size: 10.730 sq. meters (2.65 acres)
    • The House: 3.400 sq. meters
    • Indoor exhibits: 1.360 sq. meters
    • Outdoor exhibits: 3.350 sq. meters
    • Indoor visitor space: 950 sq. meters
    • Keeper and technical facilities: 770 sq. meters
    Cost: 280.000.000 kr. = 37.550.000 € / 32.335.000 £ / 50.200.000 $
    Species: Asian elephant

    [​IMG]
    Site plan of the Elephant House and outdoor enclosures.

    The Elephant House is designed by the British architect Sir Norman Foster and is probably the most famous building in the whole zoo. The first plans were ready in 2003 and construction lasted three years from 2005 to 2008 where the house and adjacent outdoor exhibits opened on June 10th. Copenhagen Zoo has a long tradition keeping elephants and was the third zoo in the world to breed elephants in captivity. The Elephant House + outdoor exhibits take up 10 % of the zoo’s total space. As the zoo is located on a hilltop the Elephant House is partially dug down into the landscape and sides and part of the roof is covered with grass and trees. Most characteristic for the house itself are the two huge glass domes that cover the elephant’s indoor exhibits, a design speciality of Sir Norman Foster and the main reason he was hired for this job. Inside the house are extensive exhibitions about the elephant’s role in history, culture and religion as well as the elephant’s zoology (anatomy and behaviour).

    [​IMG]
    The entrance to the Elephant House
     
  15. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Elephant House - Herd enclosure

    The largest part of the new elephant exhibit is the outdoor herd enclosure where the group of female and young elephants live. The herd enclosure is shaped to look like a partially dried up riverbed and is 2500 sq. meters (0.61 acres) in size. The main substrate is sand and a deep water moat borders the exhibit to the north.

    [​IMG]
    The herd enclosure

    The area where the water moat is situated was originally part of the Frederiksberg Gardens, a public park, but given to the zoo to increase the space available to the elephants. The herd enclosure can also be viewed across the water moat from the public park.

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    The herd enclosure with the water moat and Frederiksberg Gardens in the background.

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    Elephants enjoying a shower near the house.

    The visitors in the zoo view the elephants from across dry moats or through a series of reinforced concrete poles. The water moat is 3 meters deep and a small part of it is a mud hole where the elephants can enjoy a mud bath. The herd enclosure also has various enrichment activities and installations integrated in the design.

    [​IMG]
    View to the herd enclosure from the terrace on the side of the Elephant House.
     
  16. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Elephant House - Indoor exhibits

    The indoor exhibits in the Elephant House are quite probably the jewels in the crown. There are three main indoor exhibits (one for the herd and two for the bulls) and several smaller separation/training stalls. All of the indoor exhibits are located under the glass domes creating an incredibly light and friendly indoor environment. The glass domes really demonstrates that one of the major keywords in the design of the building was “open”.

    [​IMG]
    The indoor herd exhibit​


    The dome over the female side is the largest and the elephant herd has an indoor exhibit of 800 sq. meters in size and 0.5 meters of sand as floor substrate. The sand is, along with the glass dome, the best thing about the indoor exhibits. The elephants search the sand for hidden treats, providing great enrichment, as well as using the piles of sand to lie down in. It is quite rare in zoos to see elephants completely relaxing like this and a joy to see in Copenhagen’s Elephant House. The sand is also beneficial to the elephants’ feet. Humidifiers turn on at regular intervals to ensure that the air under the domes stays fresh and moist and doesn’t dry up.

    [​IMG]
    The indoor herd exhibit​



    The area under the dome in the bulls’ side is 300 sq. meters split into two exhibits (one for each bull) and a separation box in between.

    [​IMG]
    The dome over the two bull indoor exhibits

    The males do not have sand substrate as part of their exhibits but receive it from the keepers daily anyway. The bull elephants can only be viewed through narrow windows in order to relieve them of stress when they are is musth.

    [​IMG]
    One of the two identical indoor exhibits for elephant bulls.​
     
  17. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    Elephant House - Bull and herd enclosures

    [​IMG]
    The herd enclosure at the point where it can be joined with the bull enclosure using the hydraulic dry moats.

    The outdoor enclosure for the elephant bulls is significantly smaller than the herd enclosure and probably the biggest disappointment of the Elephant House. The bull enclosure measures 1000 sq. meters (0.25 acres) and can be split into two with a hydraulic dry moat as well as be joined with the herd enclosure.

    [​IMG]
    The first part of the bull enclosure at the point where it can be joined with the bull enclosure using the hydraulic dry moats

    However, it is usually kept as one enclosure with only one bull in it as the other one is let into the females’ indoor exhibit while the herd is outside. The bull enclosure has the same enrichment installations as the herd enclosure but no access to bathing water. There are only limited views into the bull enclosure, once again to relieve the bulls of stress.

    [​IMG]
    The second part of the bull enclosure that can be separated from the first. ​



    Thus ends of tour of the Elephant House in Copenhagen Zoo. Feel free to ask any questions or opinions you would like :)
     
  18. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Some very interesting pictures and comments, Toddy.

    To my mind, there are, to quote Steve Earle's comment when he was asked what sort of musician he was, only two kinds of zoo architecture: good, and bad. Thus, there is good 'naturalistic' design, and bad (Seattle, maybe, and, judging by the pictures on this website, Omaha's Madagascar exhibit); similarly, there is good and bad 'architectural' design. In the bad camp are plenty of exhibits where the architect's fantasy has not taken account of the animal's needs; this is even worse when the result doesn't even have any aesthetic claim to greatness. I can think of the Snowdon Aviary, at London, and some fo the recent developments at Munich, for example. Possibly these various Copenhagen buildings are examples of 'good' architectural design - I would be interested to hear how well the elephant and hippo houses work. I have only seen the various aviaries, and the giraffe house, in the flesh, and I thought them nice enough but not stunning - the African aviaries seemed to dominate their inhabitants. I do applaud the desire of Copenhagen to build in a way which is of value architecturally; I cannot help but compare it to the proudly 'undesigned' British zoo buildings - even the good ones - which have no architectural integrity at all, no sense of design, and, ultimately, no sense of real quality.

    John
     
  19. Toddy

    Toddy Well-Known Member

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    The logic by which the director of Copenhagen Zoo explains his decision to make this style of exhibit is the Copenhagen Zoo is of a very limited size and need to be careful that size is utilized optimally (which is ironic considering that the biggest problems of the Elephant and Hippo houses are waste of space).

    Both houses have ridiculously large visitor areas. that probably could have been put to better use. By the Elephant House it is the network of pathways that run by the outdoor exhibits. If these were effectively minimized the herd and bull enclosures could have been made a little bigger and when you operate on such small areas in the first place every square meter matters!

    The Hippo House also have a ridiculous amount of wasted space in the visitor area inside and around the house. This could easily have been good into good educational value with signs, models or possibly more animal exhibits. In the Hippo House a certain degree of naturalism has been attempted inside the exhibit itself (unlike in the Elephant House).

    In short both of these exhibits have their good sides and shortcomings. When they are good they are really good but when they bad they are really bad.
     
  20. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    Another addition could be the new free flight flamingo aviary scheduled to open this year.

    Flamingovoliere 2011