Bridgette Meinhold

A Home Fit For Elephants at the Cophenhagen Zoo

by , 07/23/10

foster and partners, elephant house, copenhagen, green design, eco  design

Keeping the elephants happy was a key element in the design of the new house, and detailed research into the social patterns of elephants helped inform a plan to create two enclosures for elephants to hang out in, socialize with each other, play, or stay cool. The main enclosure is covered in a lightweight, translucent material, which gives the elephants a stronger connection with the outdoors while providing protection from the elements.

The naturally daylight interior is also a welcome change from the dark enclosures usually seen at zoos. Visitors can walk around the enclosure and look in through the roof to see the elephants from above without unsightly barriers between them. A pattern of leaves on the dome reduces the harshness of the sun and leaves the interior dappled with sunlight, creating an experience similar to being under a grove of trees. Parts of the dome can be raised to serve as openings that let hot air escape out the top.

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