Just past the two stone lions guarding the entrance is a semi-circular courtyard flanked by a single-storey, pavilion-like structure. Trees provide shade in the middle of the square and visitors can see directly into the rhino enclosure, creating a sense of excitement for the zoo experience. Just beyond the covered entrance portal – the new gateway to the zoo – ibex climb merrily about on the landmarked rocks. An interface between urban and natural worlds, the new Löwentor entrance on Hardenbergplatz is a semi-public area and welcoming gesture by the Berlin Zoo to its visitors and the city. The structure’s cubic design recalls 1950s architecture, thereby forming a link to the immediate surroundings and the history of City West. Understated in colour and height, the new, wooden entrance building elegantly accentuates the landmarked Löwentor. The grey Eternit façade, whose subtle diamond pattern is derived from African ornamentation, and green-grey wooden slats convey a sense of naturalness, while large window facades give it a bright and airy feel. With a total of nine new ticket windows, a service centre, a spacious shop, room for administrative and technical needs, sanitary facilities and a cart rental area, the new entrance combines the needs of visitors with those of the zoo and its employees.
A redesign of the entrance was needed because the Löwentor could no longer handle increasing visitor numbers. In addition, we were tasked with creating an inviting entrance as well as space for other services. The new ticket windows, eight of which are located directly on Hardenbergplatz, and one adjacent to the Service Centre, keep long queues from forming and also provide zoo employees a more comfortable working environment. Value and quality played important roles in the design and implementation. Accordingly, the most sustainable materials were used such as wood, Eternit and rubber. The spacious shop is an integral part of the zoo experience. The view of the rhino enclosure and the facade design reference Africa – the theme of the shop, which interprets its traditional elements and colours in a modern way. Three stylized African acacia help accentuate the marketplace atmosphere at the centre of the shop. A band of light wrapping around the space and skylights provide sufficient daylight inside, giving the shop a bright and welcoming feel.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Client: Zoologischer Garten Berlin AG Project: Löwentor-Entrance Services: Architecture and Landscape Architecture Planning time: 01/2015 – 07/2016 Construction period: 11/2015 – 07/2016 Opening: 29.07.2016 Overall planning area: 2900m2 Gross floor area: 960 m2