As one of the oldest cage-free zoos in the world, the new Paris Zoo has been a proponent of animal conservation since its opening in 1934. After being closed for more than five years, the Zoo underwent a complete redesign.
Our project began with the generating concept that humans and animals would inhabit the same architecture. For example, the visitors' entrance could suggest a giant aviary, overwhelmed by vegetation over the years. Screens of dynamically composed wooden beams cover many of the zoo's new buildings, providing a distinctive visual camouflage. The wooden envelopes are independent of the internal envelopes, which contain the thermal insulation, waterproofing, and other functional necessities for the buildings.
The central concept for the zoo, creating filters, helped to reduce heat gain on temperature-controlled zones, ultimately reducing the energy footprint of the zoo. Filters are also armatures for vegetation, which reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Energy and water efficient fixtures were deployed wherever possible.
The construction of the zoo focuses on three types of materials, all of which can be perceived as 'filters.' Aviaries both small and large have been designed for birds and small monkeys as well as for the visitors' entrance pavilions. The primary material is mesh, which can be left bare or covered by vegetation. The mesh forms a soft surface, filtering light through natural means without over-building. Vegetation provides carbon reduction. Bare wood beams act as 'filters' to protect animal shelters and visitor facilities. The wood is larch timbers, locally sourced. The wood helps to filter light and reduces heat gain on practical envelopes, lowering energy bills. Glass surfaces allow a tropical climate to be recreated in the new zoo's vast greenhouse, and are continued in the large bay windows through which visitors can observe animals and animals can observe visitors.