Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Lincoln Park Zoo acts as a new ecological form in the often scraggly, while sleek, city of Chicago. The resulting form stands as a noodled Zoo.
No longer just a regular plot tucked into a small corner of the city, Lincoln Park Zoo now zigzags through neighborhoods, suburban outlets and farmlands further afield. It even extends through the lake. To make this noodled zoo continuous, wildlife overpasses are spliced in.
Inner precincts once barren of biodiversity now teem with exotic species. From living rooms and kitchens, one can spy on the wildlife scampering around in their habitat enclosures. Day and night, the sonic ambience of jungles and savannas mingle with that of the city. Conversation erupts from the geodesic dome, and harbored tropical trees can now burst free, only to be hushed back in during the dull and ramped winter months.
In the summer, the zoo’s small herd of wildebeest undertakes their annual migration, usually doing at least a few, dusty orbits. On rooftop gardens, bleachers are erected for spectators to watch this natural spectacle, NASCAR-style.
While rare, animals do escape from time to time, and when that happens, news helicopters are dispatched immediately to follow the retrieval team. On the ground, reporters shadow their every move like wildlife filmmakers, even emulating the hushed timbre of Sir David Attenborough during their live telecasts. It’s always a top story, even if people aren’t savagely attacked or an outbreak of a virulent disease isn’t imminent.
Zoo design is applied in various types of facilities such as zoological and botanical gardens, museums, rescue and breeding centers, theme parks, dolphinariums, aquariums, wild animal parks, game farms, and even in national parks. These facilities’ purposes vary and their design have used to be recognizably different. However, the driving forces for changes in zoo design lead to similar design requirements across institutions. Sophisticated zoo design depends a lot on the education of zoo staff. Trends are set by institutions which can afford experts on all levels. (ludzo,1)
As shown above:12/30/2009– Several of the king and gentoo penguins at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Penguin & Puffin Coast take a walk outside in the snow. Zoo visitors can see the Penguin Parade.
Technical innovations are leading to new types of animal exhibits. Huge aquarium displays and underwater tunnels are being built now that acrylic panels can be manufactured in almost any form and dimension. Nearly invisible barriers can be created with special netting, tension steel wire and the use of electric fences. Computer modelling allows for the design of huge free form netting for naturalistic animal exhibits.
Per example, the barriers which remain ethereal and blend into the landscape (a piece of re-bar bent and welded to look like a running vine), or a low lying glass panel to obscure the interface to how the visitor and animals interact.
“Green technologies” are also influencing zoo design. In European zoos, technologies for green roofs and insulation are widespread, while water recycling and CO2-neutral heating and cooling are still experimental. In other parts of the world, green technologies are in their infancy or still unknown.
The availability of wild animals is another driving force that will shape future zoos. Only a few thousand of many typical zoo species – such as tigers, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, rhinos – are left in the wild and the number of species at the brink of extinction is rapidly increasing. International regulations such as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) make the importation of endangered wild species increasingly difficult. Zoos therefore have started to breed endangered species in an internationally organized effort. (ludzoo)
As an end note, let me mention Coyote at the Kitchen Door: Living with Wildlife in Suburbia by Stephen DeStefano:
“In 2006, a coyote named Hal, turned up in Central Park, evading park rangers and the NYPD for two whole days while underscoring the coyote’s increasing prevalence in the population-dense Northeast. As adaptable as they are surreptitious, coyotes particularly love the suburbs, where food is abundant and natural predators rare. For wildlife biologist DeStefano, the coyote is thus an inspirational symbol of nature’s resilience: a wild animal that has learned to thrive amid human sprawl without our consent and in spite of our perennial efforts to banish them from our midst. Narrating the travels of a plucky female coyote, the author explores humans’ evolving relationship with nature and the violence of our light, noise, and traffic. Along the way, he offers us a glimpse at his own restless spirit, born in the Boston suburbs but drawn to the desert Southwest; resentful of human wastefulness yet exhilarated by the open road. DeStefano’s willingness to probe his own ambivalence about the possibilities of coexistence with nature allows this selection to be about much more than just wild canines.”
See articles previously posted by ludzoo