Adelaide Zoo's new entrance breathes life into a once neglected part of the city with fresh sustainable design, a green-roofed wildlife shelter and lots of living walls of native plants. Placing great importance on endangered and rare animals of South America and the South Pacific, the zoo places a considerable focus on conservation, environment, education, and research. The new entrance, which was designed by HASSELL, invites visitors to view the sights and sounds of the menagerie from a series of interlinked public forecourts. Additionally, water conscious design works to manage stormwater through the green roof and rain gardens.
The Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct was designed to create a more natural transition between the bustling world of the city and the natural world of the zoo. A series of interlinked forecourts unfold over 2000 sq meters and provide easy access to cafes and exhibits. The new entrance also remediated a once unsafe part of the Botanic Park. As the zoo works to protect endangered species and exotic plants, the entrance has similar goals and features a number of unique ‘living walls’ that showcase plant species, which are indigenous to the Adelaide Plains. A green roof on top of the main entrance building supports wildlife and biodiversity, and is the first of its type in Australia. The addition of these horticultural exhibits expands the zoo’s expertise and provides a laboratory in which to research these species and encourage their growth.
Beyond the living horticultural exhibits, Hassell incorporated a number of water conservation initiatives to optimize water usage. Cisterns below the forecourt store 160,000 liters of rainwater harvested from the roof and runoff from the forecourt, which is first filtered through biofiltration garden beds. These biofiltration garden beds are also known as ‘rain gardens’ and use native species along with a combination of sand and gravel layers to remove contaminants. The zoo has further plans to become a platform for ongoing research to support and promote urban ecology, manage stormwater, and encourage the use solar power generation.