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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Savannah House in the Rotterdam Zoo, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Sustainable giraffe enclosure opens at Rotterdam Zoo
A giraffe enclosure just opened at Rotterdam Zoo is the first building in the Netherlands designed for animals according to the principles of the 'Cradle to cradle' sustainability philosophy. The philosophy is an ecologically intelligent approach to architecture using and creating materials that will both compliment and restore the planet. “It forced us to unite the tensions between the neutral climate requirements and ambitions and that of a healthy climate for the African animals. The end result gives a special satisfaction," said Menno Lam of LAM architects.

The Savannah House, designed by LAM Architects, is almost maintenance free and uses a majority of recycled or recyclable materials. The structure is also able to collect 330,000 litres of rainwater each year which will be used for the plants in an adjacent habitat. To create heat on cold days wood chips are burnt and specially designed 'cuddle-walls’ (steel elements with low temperature heating inside) are available for the animals.

The Savannah House serves as a 'shelter'. It is a building full of solar, shade and daylight using non-toxic materials and its height reflects its main purpose as a giraffe shelter. The project is part of a larger transformation of Rotterdam Zoo which has been undertaken for several years which is rearranging the enclosures to create different continents.
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