Just past the two stone lions guarding the entrance is a semi-circular courtyard flanked by a single-storey, pavilion-like structure. Trees provide shade in the middle of the square and visitors can see directly into the rhino enclosure, creating a sense of excitement for the zoo experience. Just beyond the covered entrance portal – the new gateway to the zoo – ibex climb merrily about on the landmarked rocks.
An interface between urban and natural worlds, the new Lions Gate entrance on Hardenbergplatz is a semi-public area and welcoming gesture by the Berlin Zoo to its visitors and the city. The structure’s cubic design recalls 1950s architecture, thereby forming a link to the immediate surroundings and the history of City West. Understated in colour and height, the new, wooden entrance building elegantly accentuates the landmarked Löwentor. The grey Eternit façade, whose subtle diamond pattern is derived from African ornamentation, and green-grey wooden slats convey a sense of naturalness, while large window facades give it a bright and airy feel.
With a total of nine new ticket windows, a service centre, a spacious shop, room for administrative and technical needs, sanitary facilities and a cart rental area, the new entrance combines the needs of visitors with those of the zoo and its employees.