dan pearlman Experience Architecture joined key dignitaries at the topping-out ceremony for the new panda enclosure at Berlin Zoo.
Mayor Michael Müller and Chinese ambassador Shi Mingde were present at the event marking the panda project’s halfway point.
“Even today you can see that the new Panda enclosure will excite,” commented Müller in his opening address.
The timeline for getting the complex up and running has been tight from the start. dan pearlman only revealed their designs in November last year and the new exhibit is slated to open to the public this summer.
“Everyone involved in the project is pulling together and thus far, despite beginning construction in wintertime, we’re still on track,” confirmed Project Manager, Anna Buttkus.
The design of the 5480-square-metre complex combines contemporary architecture with Far East traditions. The striking cubic structure of the main building contrasts with more elaborate decorative elements that reference historical China.
The landscaping evokes the natural environment of Sichuan province, the giant pandas’ native home. Naturalistic bamboo plantings, realistic rock formations and small streams add to the ambience.
To further visitors’ understanding, the experience also features an exhibition dedicated to all aspects of panda life.
The two spacious outdoor enclosures are separated by an understated, functional building that houses a protected visitor plaza as well as the den and caretaker areas.
The welfare of the pandas has been the central focus for the project. Plexiglas skylights above the indoor enclosures provide daylight and are UV-B and UV-A permeable. For enrichment purposes, climbing courses, sand pools, shelters, swings, slides and other diversions have also been incorporated.
“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,” added Kieran Stanley, CEO of dan pearlman Experience Architecture.
(Rendering of new Panda Enclosure, Berlin Zoo (c) dan pearlman Erlebnisarchitektur)