It is warm and humid, a winding wooden walkway leads through a lush green landscape. A toucan glides through the air, hummingbirds chirp in the treetops and red titi monkeys and golden lion tamarins are gathered on the climbing rocks. Over the next several years, a tropical hall with adjoining outdoor enclosures and an aviary will take shape at the Cologne Zoo inside a listed building, which was built in 1899 and modelled after a Russian Orthodox church. Our plan aims to carefully restore the building to its former glory and to make modern animal keeping and a special visitor experience possible on the inside. Exotic birds, small monkeys, sloths and armadillos will move freely about the building, only the highly endangered Geoffroy’s cat is housed separately. Views into the piranha pool, a waterfall and a suspension bridge, a window into the feeding kitchen, a ‘feeding tree’ and an exhibition space make the visit an exciting and educational experience.
The master plan of the Cologne Zoo provides for zoning according to continents. As part of the immersive South America-themed world ‘Jagwar’, the tropical house will be one of the first projects to be implemented. Due to listed building requirements, the restoration and expansion of the old building represents a major challenge. Not only will the dilapidated roofs and ceilings be renewed, an ETFE-foil roof will supply the central hall with daylight. In addition, temperature controlled walls are also planned as a thermal moisture barrier. The addition of a veranda based on historic designs restores the building’s former outline and a renovated façade makes it shine. So that the lush greenery takes root inside, the floor in the main hall will be removed down to the basement and plant substrate will be deposited onto the lower floor slab. To ensure optimum operation, the caretaker zones will be housed in the rear of the building and the technical building systems in the basement.