Zoological innovation

Tuesday 26 Jun 2012

HASSELL appointed to design Tbilisi Zoo

The London studio of HASSELL has combined forces with consulting engineering and design firm Arup to complete the concept design of the new Tbilisi Zoo on the outskirts of the Georgia. Selected by Tbilisi City Hall, the project will replace the existing zoo with a zoological and recreation complex adjacent to the inland lake, the Tbilisi Sea.

Working with Arup’s Dublin office, HASSELL has developed a concept that uses a design strategy of minimal disturbance to preserve the area’s natural beauty. The need for new buildings, due to the relocation of the animals, has inspired the design of an entrance hub, boulevard, a secondary hub with playground and café, inner zoo and an outer open range zoo as well as woodland areas set within the Soviet era Arboretum known as Dendropark National Park. A recreation area created on the shore of the Tbilisi Sea will include new buildings for an aquarium and dive school.

The plan builds upon the dramatic landscape and mountainous topography of the area to create a concept synonymous with the country’s position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, represented by the division of the site into distinct grassland habitats. It will also be built to serve as a tourist destination, including zoo, safari, botanical and recreational experiences. The design will celebrate the natural history of the site and encourage visitors of all ages to take a personal interest in the importance of conserving the earth’s environmental heritage.

The project builds on HASSELL’s planning, landscape architecture and zoo experience in Australasia including the award-winning Adelaide Zoo, Taronga Zoo in Sydney and Werribee Open Range in Victoria. Jon Hazelwood, Head of Landscape Architecture at HASSELL’s London Studio, said: “Our team has been inspired by the beauty of the Georgian landscape to create a scheme that works in harmony with the environment, respects the animals that will inhabit it and allows people to observe them in a space akin to their natural habitat.”

Samantha Morley

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