iredale pedersen hook

perth zoo orang-utan enclosure

This project forms part of the practice’s ongoing work for Perth Zoo. The core intent of the new Orang-utan enclosure is the proposition of re-using an existing facility, upgrading it for new patterns of use and adoption of a contemporary lifestyle that embraces new practices in animal husbandry. In this case the aim of the project was to upgrade and renovate a 30 year old exhibit, making it more appealing to the visiting public and increase the richness of the arboreal opportunities available to the Orang-utans. Designed to establish connections between Orang-utan behaviour, living patterns and qualities of their natural environment this new enclosure consists of a series of ‘trees’ that simulate the physical complexities of a rainforest. This is achieved through a careful assemblage of recycled concrete pylons and robust steel ‘branches’ and climbing frames. Each tree holds double decker nests with timber and steel shading structures providing points of rest. This, along with a collection of activities; puzzle boxes, dip tubes, water canoes, drinkers, the bent steel armatures and ropes are able to be tuned to create a constantly changing, stimulating environment. This project continues a line of research into the manner that the aesthetics of ‘environmental architecture’ may evolve from landscape, program and materiality rather than technological systems. The project has been published in AR magazine, MONUMENT and Houses Magazine. The Orangutan Enclosure received an Honourable Mention, in the highly prestigious Architectural Review Awards for Emerging Architecture, London in 2008 and the Environmental Award in the 2003 RAIA WA Chapter Architecture Awards.