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Hanover Experience Zoo

A piece of Africa in the Hanover Experience Zoo: In the new theme world Afi Mountain, visitors experience a unique protection project with the Drillwald. They embark on a journey through the African rainforest and come close to the endangered monkeys. The enclosure of the Drillwald imitates the natural habitat of the primates in equatorial Africa. With one of the largest diversities of primates in the world, the Bioko Island off the coast of Cameroon serves as the role model for the enclosure. Through a thick plant backdrop and in the middle of a rock tunnel system, the visitors of the Hanover experience zoo can delve into the empire of the drills. Various window facades and net systems enable the visitors to experience the animals face to face. Fog effects and noises intensify the feeling of being part of the rainforest. The immersive concept of the Drillwald within the theme world of Afi Mountain was developed by the dan pearlman experience architecture under the direction of Kieran Stanley. The execution of the Drillwald was realized with our partners at emproc Bauprojektmanagement GmbH & Co.KG.


Object Planning
Architektur LP 1-4


The Drillwald within the theme world of Afi Mountain combines the protection of endangered primates with a unique and up close experience between humans and animals. At the Hanover Experience Zoo, visitors can experience the drills in a strikingly natural environment and embark on a journey of discovery through the rainforest. A huge tree with buttress roots marks the entrance to the empire of these highly endangered monkeys. The next element is an adjoining rock tunnel system which offers various insights into the world of the lively animals. Between the rocks, large windows provide the visitor with the opportunity of seeing the animals up close. And even above their heads, the drills climb across the rocks. With many different activities, the enclosure offers a high level of variety for the animals. Apart from the rock formations and a stream to frolic in, the monkeys don’t get bored in the treetops. Here, a group of guenons shares the enclosure with the drills. Hereby, a natural environment for biodiversity emerges. Different sections within the enclosure offer the animals opportunities to avoid each other during conflicts and find hiding places for their food. The evergreen plant concept consisting of nontoxic plants contributes to the natural atmosphere of the enclosure as well. A huge net stretching over the area of the drills and guenons blurs the boundary between visitor area and enclosure. The visitors get a sense of being part of the vibrancy inside the enclosure. On a discovery path over the stream and through the Drillwald, children and adults alike can delve into the zoo to learn more about the endangered monkeys and be active by climbing and jumping. The team of the dan pearlman experience architecture focuses on the concept of behavioral enrichment, meaning the animation and engagement of the animals, and integrates the visitor activities into the environment of the animals. With the Drillwald, the destination Hanover Zoo offers an immersive experience which reduces the distance between animals and people. 1995 marked the beginning of an EXPO project with the ‘Zoo of the Future’ master plan, the bold restructuring of Hanover Zoo. Over a fifteen-year period an adventure zoo took shape in the regional capital of Lower Saxony. The zoo takes its responsibilities as a location for species conservation, education and research serious but also sees itself as a recreational facility, promising relaxation and entertainment.


Client: Hanover Zoo
Project: Afi Mountain
Services: LPH 1 – 9 according to the HOAI
Planning & construction period: 2016 – 2017
Opening: 2017
Property size: 2,530 m²
Available Enclosure Size: ca. 625 m²
Gross Building Volume of the Visitor Cave: ca. 450 m³
Construction cost: approx. ca. 3.39 Mio. Euro