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Amiens Zoo

HUT + ROCK

The project intertwines the urban with the natural landscape in this unique context. In fact, the primary aim is to 'flood' the site with nature - an 'urban forest' extending from the park in the south - creating a north-western African plain filled with vegetation, basins, animals and bio-dome as well as an extension to the park’s existing flora and fauna in the south-west. The new entrance building forms part of the rich landscape ensemble in the shape of a 'big hut' emerging from the clearing which one discovers suddenly through a pedestrian bridge when arriving from the park and from the Esplanade de la Hotoie or gradually when walking along the Rue Faubourg de Hem. THE BIG HUT The “big hut” location and form respond to the functions, the programme, the management flow and the urban context. A series of large semi-circular courtyards are carved out from this monumental timber roof, clearly defining the four main areas of the programme; the entrance, the services, the esplanade and the education quarter. Finally, along the planted plaza to the south, this large hut is shaped in alignment with the buildings of the Allée du Château Milan to guide visitors arriving from the future car park. THE ROCK From the main entrance (the south side), the tropical bio-dome is designed in such a way that it is perceived as a mountain topped by a cloud rising from the African plain and like a rock emerging from a tropical forest from the north side of the zoo. The rock serves as a structural base for the bio-dome and hosts the animal basins, technical areas, a cenote and the giraffe house. The round form and roof material (ETFE) of the bio-dome achieves the best compromise, technically and economically. The rounded and slightly crushed shape ensures the best climatic circulation over the entire site as well as the best airflow distribution by minimising height temperature gradients. THE CENOTE To the East, the tropical bio-dome's rocky cliff-face houses a four meter-deep well, entered by visitors at its centre. The embedded terrariums in the wall continue the height of the well by a long, helical ramp; the visitor, starting from the ground, continues their journey of discover, gradually rising to the highest point in the bio-dome. Upon exiting the confined oval space, they are met with astounding and revealing panoramas. The well, like a false cenote, is draped in epiphyte planting (bromeliads, orchids etc.) which frame the sides of the terrariums. The plants gradually disappear upon reaching 1.5 meters from the height of the well.

Project: Amiens Zoo
Size: 12 000 m²
Location: Amiens, France
Budget: €16.5 Million
Client: Amiens Metropole
Team: URBAN AGENCY, Henchion + Reuter, Interscene, Edeis, EVIA, P. Fiorani
Type: Invited competition
Status: 2nd Prize
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