This project involved upgrading the chimpanzee habitat at Wellington Zoo, enhancing the space for both the chimpanzees and zoo visitors.
Our first task was to cut a massive window through the existing concrete wall to provide a new viewpoint into the enclosure. We built new play structures inside the enclosure, including posts, beams, ropes, swings and hammocks. Outside the enclosure, we added new entrance, landscaping and a children’s playground.
Sustainability is an important consideration for Wellington Zoo, so much of the new play equipment inside the enclosure was re-purposed, including old telephone poles. Our team collaborated closely with the wider project team and planned carefully to maximise the limited supply. We also helped to re-design the viewing window, minimising the amount of concrete by using existing concrete foundations from a demolished building to support the new columns for the window.
Another key driver with this project was animal welfare. The chimps could only be kept in their secure ‘house’ structure for six weeks, which posed a challenge when long-lead items would usually take 8-10 weeks to manufacture. And with chimpanzees five times stronger than people, no corners could be cut! Our team pulled out all the stops to ensure that the chimps came first and meet the tight deadline.
Client: Wellington Zoo
Completed: December 2018
Awards: Category Winner / Playgrounds, New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Awards 2019
Colliers International Best Team Award, Property Council Wellington Property People Awards 2019