Knowsley Elephant House

January 2014

Knowsley Elephant House

This design for an elephant habitat at Knowlsey Safari Park consists of two parts: a large subterranean mass that houses the elephant accommodation and a lighter construction of suspended boxes that house the visitor areas.

The traditional notion that the animal must be caged in a zoo is inverted. Humans are visitors to the elephants world, experiencing the elephants from  within the confines of buildings.

A juxtaposition of heavy and light is proposed to emphasise the sheer size of the elephants. Lightweight boxes soar over the external enclosure, a light touch on the elephants’ world. The use of metal for the visitor areas highlights the man made nature of the human intervention into the elephants’ habitat.

A strong geometric pattern of perforations covers the panels, which wrap around the two viewing boxes to create a focus on the main views at either end of the boxes whilst still allowing for light penetration throughout. The triangular geometric pattern changes in density towards the open end of the boxes to highlight the openness of the views out to the landscape.