ENCLOSURE FOR AFRICAN APES
The Wilhelma in Stuttgart is a zoological botanical garden that comprises part of the Rosenstein Park, an English landscaped garden created in the 19th century along a steep-sloped valley basin typical of Stuttgart’s topography. The design concept for the new ape house picks up the characteristic themes of ridge, valley and forest.
The new enclosure for African apes is located in the „Wilhelma“ which is part of a wide landscape park. The building twists in an S-shape between the existing stock of mature trees and appears to burrow into the ground at its curving ends. This impression is created by two greened, curving, shell-like concrete roofs that rise to a height of 7.5 m out of the neighbouring park. The inside pathway with room-high glazing affords a view over the landscape and a minimal construction of frameless armoured glass allows the visitor and ape to stand face to face. Above the glazing, lush planting is forming a green ribbon that flanks the path, and an open mesh creates a single large interior for visitors and apes alike.
An open, greened system of outdoor enclosures that are fashioned as a natural extension of the greened roofscape, are covered in part by a lightweight steel mesh construction. The interleaved arrangement of outdoor and indoor enclosures - of topography and building - results in a structure that is a harmonious part of the landscape.