Once again Bjarke Ingels Group amazes with a project of rare simplicity inspired by the famous Chinese symbol of yin and yang, creating a home for the two pandas in Copenhagen Zoo, a gift from the Chinese government to the Queen of Denmark during her 2014 visit to China. The architects’ idea was to create a place where the two pandas, male and female, Mao Sun and Xing Er, could live in a solitary habitat, as they normally do in the wild, even while staying within sight of each other and of the zoo’s visitors. On the basis of a circular route grafted onto a larger path corresponding to the whole green island provided for the two animals, the architects created spaces with specific tectonic movements. This design expedient creates spaces for visitors and for the two pandas to live in out of movements of the earth, so that human intervention appears to have little impact compared to the surrounding buildings.
The entire structure is made out of concrete slabs, the exposed parts of which, both inside and outside the building, are made very distinctive by use of bamboo frameworks. In this way, the few visible parts built by human hands, though essential, reflect signs of the landscape in which pandas normally live, reflecting the animals’ Asian origins in a simple yet original way.
The pandas’ proverbial appetite is appropriate to counterbalance the presence of the restaurant that has been built in the Panda House, so that visitors can eat with the pandas, sitting comfortably behind big panes of glass, floor-to-ceiling in many places, and spend more time with the zoo’s most popular animals.
NAME: Panda House
LOCATION: Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark
COLLABORATORS: Schønherr, MOE
CLIENT: Copenhagen Zoo
BIG – BJARKE INGELS GROUP
PARTNERS-IN-CHARGE Bjarke Ingels, David Zahle
PROJECT MANAGER: Ole Elkjær-Larsen
PROJECT LEADERS: Nanna Gyldholm Møller, Kamilla Heskje, Tommy Bjørnstrup TEAM: Alberto Menegazzo, Alex Ritivoi, Carlos Soria, Christian Lopez, Claus Rytter Bruun de Neergaard, Dina Brændstrup, Eskild Schack Pedersen, Fabiana Cortolezzis, Federica Longoini, Frederik Skou Jensen, Gabrielé Ubareviciute, Gökce Günbulut, Hanne Halvorsen, Høgni Laksáfoss, Jiajie Wang, Jinseok Jang, Joanna Plizga, Lone Fenger Albrechtsen, Luca Senise, Maja Czesnik, Margarita Nutfulina, Maria Stolarikova, Martino Hutz, Matthieu Brasebin, Pawel Bussold, Richard Howis, Seongil Choo, Sofia Sofianou, Stefan Plugar, Tobias Hjortdal , Tore Banke, Victor Bejenaru, Xiaoyi Gao.