The animals of this petting zoo in Germany now have new lodgings – a trio of larch-ribbed structures by Kresings Architektur that overlook a pond (+ slideshow).
The German studio added a new timber stable block, cylindrical aviary and slatted fence to the Schlossgarten (petting zoo) in Öhringen, a town in south-west Germany.
Kangaroos and rheas have found new homes in the stable block, while smaller birds reside in the aviary. The grassy paddock with its new fence is home to the zoo's donkey and alpaca population.
The structures stand on the edge of a pond at the southern end of the site. They replace an ageing animal enclosure, forming part of a larger improvement programme ahead of the State Horticulture Show in 2016.
Larch ribs forms the buildings' skeletons. They follow the line of the enclosures' oval floors, perpendicular to the facade.
The aviary is clad with mesh, while the stable block has wooden walls, creating a house within a house effect.
"This striking composition consists of three elements," said the studio. "These three come together as a whole and give shape to the location through their formal implementation as well as the prominent use of larch wood."
"The architectural concept of a house within a house is conveyed through a lamellar-like facade, which creates exciting and alternating perceptions of depth."
The studio liaised with vets to tailor the environments to the needs of the zoo's various inhabitants, which includes over 30 species. Larch wood was selected for its non-toxic qualities and was applied to each of the three structures to create cohesion between the separate elements.
"The use of larch wood is one outcome of the close cooperation with the veterinaries," explained the studio. "The wood is not only resistent and therefore sustainable, but more importantly, it does not need to be treated. As a result, there is no danger of inadvertently poisoning the animals."
The enclosures are designed to signpost the zoo's location and are visible from a nearby road intersection and across the pond.
"Multiple views from all directions are offered to people walking by and in especially to the little visitors to the petting zoo," said the architects. "The appealing nature of the buildings is adjusted to the eye level of children and should serve as an inviting place to visit and spend time."
Other designs for European zoos include a thatched giraffe enclosure by Dutch studio LAM and a domed elephant enclosure by British firm Foster + Partners. BIG has also designed a zoo, which allows animals to roam freely.
Photography is by Roman Mensing.
Architects: Kresings Architektur
Project staff: Kilian Kresing, Raul Zinni-Gerk, Nicolas Oevermann
Building contractor: Landesgartenschau
Landscape architect: RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten