Lufthansa_01

Chester Zoo News

The Expedition Begins – England’s largest zoo development project in Chester, now open!

Wild animals and rare plants, unique landscapes and distant cultures – there’s much to discover on the Islands, which first phase opened on 13 July 2015 at Chester Zoo. In 2010, while looking for a strategic partner as part of its future development plans, Chester Zoo teamed up with us. Chester Zoo is one of the world’s best zoos and is a strong advocate for species conservation globally. This commitment – the zoo operates ten of its own endangered wild animal protection programmes and supports sixty additional projects – was to be showcased as the immersive environment’s primary focus. We developed a storyline that revolves around a team of conservationists and centres on Southeast Asia, and established a direct connection to the zoo’s conservation program.
Once reaching Coral Sands beach on Panay Island you are immersed in the fascinating island world of Southeast Asia. Here a team of conservationists has left some traces on Islands. During the expedition, visitors can encounter equipment, notebooks, sketches and observation posts. On their journey they become part of the research team, discovering the uniqueness of this region’s flora and fauna as well as learning a lot about their fragility and their treasures.
Islands is modelled after the six islands of Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi. Visitors not only move around on foot over land but also explore the Lazy River on a 450m-long boat trip. Fourteen boats individually designed in Southeast Asian style can accommodate 238 people at a time for fifteen minutes of animal watching and enjoyment. We designed and constructed a total of fourteen Indo-Pacific style structures as well as a variety of building types including stall facilities, visitor buildings, a boat station and several bridges down to the smallest detail. We were also responsible for designing the aviaries, the climbing structures and the extensive modelling of the terrain. By the end of this summer the opening of the last island Sumatra and the architectural highlight the Monsoon Forest show house will accomplish the whole immersive environment. With Islands we have created a new habitat for orang-utans, macaques, hornbills, Sumatran tigers, crocodile and others animals. Stunning views of the animals, including underwater views into the tiger or crocodile pools, transform the encounter for visitors into an emotional experience.

‘Our job was to create a setting that would allow visitors to experience the wildlife and the nature of Southeast Asia in an authentic and engaging way’, says Kieran Stanley, CEO dan pearlman Experience Architecture. ‘Only someone who feels personally involved will get excited about animal and nature conservation and hopefully become an advocate for the conservation of their natural habitats.’ Wild animals and rare plants, unique landscapes and distant cultures – there’s much to discover on the Islands, which first phase opened on 13 July 2015 at Chester Zoo. In 2010, while looking for a strategic partner as part of its future development plans, Chester Zoo teamed up with us. Chester Zoo is one of the world’s best zoos and is a strong advocate for species conservation globally. This commitment – the zoo operates ten of its own endangered wild animal protection programmes and supports sixty additional projects – was to be showcased as the immersive environment’s primary focus. We developed a storyline that revolves around a team of conservationists and centres on Southeast Asia, and established a direct connection to the zoo’s conservation program.
View the entire press release here!