Knowsley Elephant Habitat

January 2014

Knowsley Elephant Habitat

This design for the 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 aim was to achieve a juxtaposition of heavy and light to emphasise the sheer size of the elephants. This led to the idea of the boxes soaring over the external enclosure. Steel was chosen as the main structural material and aluminium for the cladding system. These highlight the man made nature of the human intervention into the elephants habitat. To reinforce this idea 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 boxes cantilever out from two concrete cores. The main structure of the boxes consists of full height steel trusses that run along their long external edges. These two box forms are tied together to counteract their turning forces against the cores.

The cladding panels are laser cut aluminium with a black anodised coating. 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.