by Milo Sumner in New Design on Saturday 9 August 2014

We don’t know about you, but for us there are few things more depressing than a zoo. People walking around in droves peering through bars at sad animals that have neither enough room nor enough company, hardly our idea of a great day out.

Prestigious Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is taking the traditional mode of a zoo’s layout and turning it on it’s head. On the site of the current Givskud Zootopia Ingels plans to build a revolutionary cage-free zoo, in which the animals barely even know that their human observers are there.

The initial designs for the redevelopment of the 50-year old site show a 300 acre wilderness where the animals are liberated from their cages and people are cleverly concealed in small reflective pods that mirror their natural surroundings. What’s more is there won’t be a single fake pagoda or temple in site.

“Instead of copying the architecture from the various continents by doing vernacular architecture, we propose to integrate and hide the buildings as much as possible in the landscape” say BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group).

Visitors to this innovative zoo will be funnelled into a single central sunken area surrounded by sweeping animal enclosures, a pleasing contrast to the endless paths and stretches of tarmac that surround each cage in a regular zoo. The observer pods will allow people to get up-close with the animals without overly disturbing them, whether it’s sweeping over the heads of lions of drifting down a river flanked by elephants. Any walls or barriers that are strictly necessary will be built from natural timbers and materials so as to blend with the scenery.

We’re excited to see this concept become a reality, of course we are still curious about how somebody decided that wild animals won’t be able to see shiny metallic balls floating past them. Perhaps the architect is ever so slightly in a bubble of his own…

Via The Guardian