The Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct breathes new life into a once-neglected part of the City of Adelaide in Australia. Dispensing with the traditional boundary between the Zoo and its surrounds, the new entrance invites visitors to view the sights and sounds of the Zoo from public forecourts. The Zoo boasts Australia’s first purpose-designed ‘green roof’ to support wildlife shelter and extensive ‘living walls’ of native plants, making it a significant horticultural park and research centre as well as a world class zoo.
The result of an ambitious integration of physical, cultural and organisational strategies, the Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct was designed around the core drivers of conservation, environment, education, and research. The Entrance Precinct comprises a series of interlinked forecourts that unfold over 2000 square metres to create a natural transition and physical connection between the roads, parklands and waterways. These new links through the forecourts provide access to cafes and exhibitions via safe, lit pathways, and remediate a once unsafe part of Botanic Park – demonstrating the transformative capacity of urban design to promote safe, healthy and liveable cities.
The Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct includes a number of leading environmental sustainable initiatives made possible through close collaboration between the government, the Adelaide Zoo horticultural experts and the multi-disciplinary design team. Supporting the project goal to achieve no net loss of habitat, unique ‘living walls’ showcase plant species that are indigenous to the Adelaide Plains and demonstrate the Zoo’s place as a significant horticultural – as well as zoological – park. The Zoo’s ‘green’ roof is the first of its type in Australia to support wildlife shelter and biodiversity intensification. These ‘living’ landscape elements will evolve to suit climatic and growing conditions and in accordance with the normal life cycle of plant species – in turn changing the character of the Entrance Precinct over time. Ongoing research, testing and prototyping to encourage native species to inhabit the precinct will further stimulate change and evolution.
Water management is a key environmental issue in Australia and as such, the Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct project incorporates a number of water conservation initiatives. Concrete tanks below the forecourt hold 160,000 litres of rainwater, captured from the roof over the conference spaces, and from the Santos Conservation Centre. Runoff from the forecourt is first filtered through biofiltration garden beds to remove contaminants. Biofiltration garden beds, also known as ’rain gardens’, are low depressions planted with native plants which capture rainwater runoff from paved surfaces, naturally filtering the rainwater before it is storied in the underground tank. The biofiltration garden bed uses a combination of sand and gravel layers and the plant’s root systems to filter the water as it soaks down through the soil. It is then collected by an underground pipe and directed to the underground tank.
Through collaborative research arrangements with private sector investment, HASSELL and the university sector, the Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct project will become a platform for ongoing research into the potential for alternative models of built form to support and promote urban ecology, to manage stormwater appropriately and enable more efficient performance in solar power generation.Location: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Architect: HASSELL Project name: Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct Disciplines: Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture Expertise: Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Year: 2009 Scale: 5,150 sqm Client: Adelaide Zoo Status: Completed Photography: Peter Bennetts