No need to pack your trunk...

Niki May Young
Monday 09 Jun 2008

Foster + Partners’ design ensures elephants have a happy home

A house fit for the King of the jungle will open this week in Copenhagen Zoo as Foster + Partners’ Elephant House design is officially inaugurated. The etched glass dome will officially open on Wednesday having replaced the original 1914 Elephant house.

The new structure aims to restore the visual relationship between the zoo and the park and to provide the Elephants with a stimulating environment with easily accessible spaces from which to enjoy them.

Two glass-topped domes apparently rise out of the earth creating a synchronicity between the design and its surroundings and optimising the passive thermal performance of the structures. The two areas having been created as separate spaces due to the elephant’s propensity to wander away from the main herd thus giving the animals an environmental choice. A beautifully latticed design is created by the glass which is further enhanced with sporadic detailing resembling fallen petals atop the glass.

Copenhagen Zoo benefits from more than 3,000 animals but the Indian elephants which make up the inhabitants of this new enclosure are considered among the most popular. The structure creates new zoological standards in terms of enclosure-design by allowing the elephants to sleep together. A heated floor mimics a section of dry riverbed where elephants can rest and maintain healthy feet out of mud or water. Water pools, mud holes and shading objects also allow the animals extra comfort and interest.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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