Leading zoo experience design firm, dan pearlman Experience Architecture, has revealed its much-anticipated design for Berlin Zoo’s new panda exhibit.
The project comes hot on the heels of the company’s highly-praised Panda World project at Everland Resort in South Korea which was recognised for setting new standards in panda welfare.
“Planning an exhibit for animals that are so rare and overseeing it all, from the initial concept to the arrival of the pandas, is a special honour, ” comments Kieran Stanley, CEO of dan pearlman Experience Architecture.
The new enclosure at Berlin Zoo is located close to the famous Elephant Gate entrance. A visitor pavillion, modelled on the historic Chinese pavillion of 1898, gives visitors their first glimpse into the female panda’s outdoor enclosure.
Giant pandas are typically solitary animals in the wild, so the animals will be kept apart at Berlin Zoo except for a few days a year when they will come together to mate.
dan pearlman has blended European modernism and Far East traditions in the exhibit design: the simple cubic structure of the main building contrasts with the grey, finely textured brick façade, which is modelled after Chinese architectural designs. Other elements, such as gates and railings, reference historical China.
The landscape concept for the Panda enclosure is based on Sichuan province and features bamboo, rock formations and small streams.
As with Everland Resort, the panda’s welfare is a priority. The use of Plexiglas skylights above the indoor enclosures provide daylight and are UV-B and UV-A permeable. And, for behavioural enrichment purposes, climbing courses, sand pools, shelters, swings, slides and other diversions have been incorporated into the naturally-designed outdoor enclosures to stimulate the pandas with a variety of activities.
The giant panda is an ambassador for species protection and is still vulnerable. A population of just 2, 000 animals survives in the wild and the majority of pandas living in captivity are in China. Berlin Zoo expects to receive their pair of pandas from China next summer.
(Renderings of new Panda Enclosure, Berlin Zoo (c) dan pearlman Erlebnisarchitektur)