Gondwanaland tropical experience world

Finalisation in 2011

Zoo Leipzig GmbH

Leipzig, DE

Arranged over 16,500 square metres, visitors to the Leipzig Zoo can experience the tropical climate zones of the continents of Asia, Africa and South America, which before they were divided up all formed part of the original continent known as Gondwanaland. OBERMEYER was a member of the consortium (together with the architects Henchion Reuter, the landscape planner Röntz, and the structural engineers from Eisenloffel. Sattler + Partner, fire safety office Hahn), who produced the draft design for this structurally very challenging gigantic Tropics building. The consortium was formed in response to the competition put out to tender in 2006 right across Europe for construction of this new Tropics building.

The architects based the draft design of the building shape on this section of planet Earth: An equilateral triangle in the layout sub-divides the subject areas. An unsupported steel structure spans the entire building, consisting of triangular elements. This steel supporting structure weighs 2,000 tons and spans an unsupported width of 160 metres. The height to the cupola measures 34 metres. Below the primary steel structure is a second supporting structure featuring a total of 17,900 square metres of three-layer, UV-permeable ETFE foil cushion that provides an insulating layer to the outside world that can still admit light. Through maximum use of direct sunlight, it is possible to dispense almost entirely with the use of artificial lighting for the plants.

Ventilation employs a sustainable system including heat recuperation. The humidification needed for this tropical climate is delivered by a controllable droplet misting system. Plants are watered using purified rainwater that falls on them from roof height much like natural rain.

Aerial photo: Henry Pfeifer, www.profiluftbild.de
All other images: Werner Huthmacher