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Conversations about the future of zoos usually end in a debate between landscape immersion and animal enclosures (former zoo director David Hancocks flippantly uses the word “habitats” to describe the latter). A distancing from the caged-specimen past of 20th century zoos is an obvious trend, but the degree to which modern zoos commit to constructing natural or natural-esque spaces for their animals varies. It inevitably leads to a question of values: does the zoo exist for animals or for people? Architects tasked with redesigning the Givskud Zoo in Denmark aim to satisfy both sides of the debate. The firm, BIG, recently unveiled plans for what it calls “the world’s most advanced zoo.” The renderings reflect a renewed dedication to allowing animals to roam free while also revolutionizing the human experience.
What’s the Big Idea?
Some of the designs spell situations equally ground-breaking and — well — utterly terrifying. This picture features two children playing in a river near free-roaming elephants. One other features zoo visitors traveling above a bear in a sort of mirrored floating bucket. The collection of images details an ambitious vision for the future of zoos and wildlife parks. Buildings designed for zoo visitors and other humans will be camouflaged in order to best recreate the animals’ natural habitats. Check out the designs (linked again below) and let us know what you think.
Photo credits: BIG, via ArchDaily