The Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem reflects our fascination with nature.
In the 1920’s, Johann Burger designed enclosures for carnivores as open and fence-free landscapes. Today, the Dutch zoo is leading in the application of artificial eco-systems.
Visitors can wander through an authentic environment exploring the tropical rain forest, the desert of North America or the African bush, while indulging all their senses.
The Architecture of the 2002 outdoor wire mesh enclosure for leopards and jackals lets nature take the lead. A delicate net structure was generated and carefully embedded into the original topography of the zoological garden. Like a transparent skin, the tensile mesh fabric encloses a forest of old American oaks which cover an area of roughly 1000m².
To include the existing trees in the lay-out of the enclosure was a particular challenge for the designers at Officium. The solution utilizes a number of artificial trees to hold a stainless steel net tensioned beneath the tree tops like a huge spider web. Steel rings, embracing the oaks at a wider radius than the trunks, allow the trees to move freely with the wind.
Without any interfering substructure, the fine cable tensile mesh allows an open view onto the enclosure. Leopards and Jackals, who both inhabit the reserve, are separated from each other by a vertical stainless steel net, which is braced unsupported from top to ground.
The spacious leopard area not only offers the cats plenty of room for movement at ground level, but the horizontal roof net at 7 meters height enabled the erection of trees for climbing. The minimal mesh width of 70mm prevents the carnivores from destroying the ferrules of the net with their fangs. Therefore, big cats ready for adventure cannot bite their way through the mesh fence.