Pandamania at Adelaide Zoo

Duncan Bainbridge
Tuesday 17 Feb 2009

HASSELL design new panda enclosure

Architects HASSELL have been appointed by The Royal Zoological Society of South Australia to develop a series of comprehensive designsolutions which will service a long term plan to establish Adelaide Zoo as a major centre of excellence for Conservation and husbandry. In late2007, the Zoo embarked on an ambitious modernisation programme, based around three major projects: a new panda enclosure, a newentrance precinct and a new perimeter security strategy.

The three projects; totaling a cost of AU$33m represent a major opportunity to enhance a much loved South Australian institution and toprovide a new and significant civic space for Adelaide that both embodies the aspirations of the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia to engage with the community, and communicates the Zoo’s objectives to visitors.The arrival in 2009 of Wang Wang and Funi at Adelaide Zoo will be the first time that panda’s have been loaned to an Australian Zoo for any significant period of time.

The aim of the exhibit is to convey an understanding of both the natural habitat of the giant panda and the current context of research andconservation efforts which are strongly associated with the Wolong sanctuary a protected area located in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, People's Republic of China.

The design for the Giant Panda Forest will provide a compelling exhibit, incorporating best practice husbandry and a unique visitor experiencethat is fully integrated with the existing exhibits and enclosures as well as the new entrance precinct. The exceptional design will provide thevisitor with both an immersive experience in the giant panda highlands forest habitat as well as an informed and integrated storyline whichtells the story of current giant panda conservation and research efforts and how it is linked to the original home of the pandas, Wang Wangand Funi.

The external exhibits are over 600 sq m each and have been designed to include significant planting, cooling water features, mature and newtrees and most importantly for the welfare and amusement of the panda’s, chilled rocks.

Currently on site, construction is well advanced and the project is due for completion to coincide with the arrival of the pandas. The AdelaideZoo exhibit will become a destination of choice, delivering an exciting and emotional experience that will encourage the visitor to leave withconservation in mind and with the tools to participate in further conservation action.

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