High-profile architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled a new panda habitat for Denmark's Copenhagen Zoo. The unique enclosure features a design inspired by the yin and yang symbol and promises excellent views of the animals. Assuming it goes ahead, it'll be completed in 2018.
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Copenhagen Zoo already boasts a starchitect-designed animal enclosure in the form of Foster + Partners' award-winning Elephant House. BIG's Panda House will be situated right next to it and will measure 2,450 sq m (26,371 sq ft) over two stories. The enclosure will be split into two parts, one for each panda.
With pandas being so difficult to breed, there's some nice symbolism going on here with yin and yang and opposites attracting, but on a more practical level, the divided enclosure separates the famously solitary bears and ensures each one can't see, hear, or smell its prospective mate until the time's right.
A circular viewing platform will let visitors view the animals at multiple points, as well as check out zookeepers going about their work. A restaurant will also allow visitors to gaze into the pandas' home as they eat.
According to BIG, the Panda House's vegetation and layout will mimic the pandas' natural environment, offering a nice variation of shade and sun, water and foliage, and a sloping landscape. The firm says that the idea is "to feel like humans are the visitors in the pandas' home, rather than pandas being the exotic guests from faraway lands."
Copenhagen Zoo, Schønherr Landscape Architects, and MOE collaborated on the Panda House project too, and construction is due to begin later this year – providing the required 150 million DKK (around US$17.7 million) funding is secured.