This project builds on previous HRA zoo design experience and aims to edit a complex animal husbandry programme into a unified ‘roofed landscape’ experience. The natural dip in site terrain has been exaggerated and manipulated to create a dramatic valley landscape, accommodating back of house facilities into the valley walls and generating multiple opportunities to view and interact with the families of chimpanazees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas.
Visitors enter behind a waterfall and the river flowing from this point remains the orientating device as one navigates through the dense planting that follows. Animals and visitors move through the same vegetation with safety barriers disguised or hidden; the valley topography creates a low-lying ‘jungle path’ as well as a high level ‘mountain path’.
A filigree ETFE roof spans over this landscape and maintains the tropical climate beneath. From the north, west and east the roof is the only expressed architectural element, while the complex engages with the existing Zoo wall to the south to create a new side entrance to the gardens. External areas for the various ape groups are provided to the east and west. The complex will facilitate a successful ape conservation programme at Frankfurt Zoo.