In what surely represents the most fun an architect can have with clients of the furry kind, Snowdon Architects recently worked with Melbourne Zoo to create a brand new Lemur Exhibit which would encourage closer interaction with visitors.
Tackling traditional zoo exhibit issues such as space limitations and visitor segregation, Snowdon Architects worked extensively with Melbourne Zoo’s animal behaviourists to develop a large, fun and engaging home for the lemurs while enabling visitors to get within arm’s reach of the animals.
Moving away from traditional plinth-and-moat configurations, Snowdon Architects wanted visitors to feel as if they were inside the exhibit with the Lemurs, and so set about to deliver a never-before-seen aviary design that provides the lemurs with maximum usage of their habitat while at ground level visitors walk through a winding aviary tunnel.
Taking visitors on a Madagascan adventure, the exhibit leads guests down a tropical woven rattan tunnel to a guarded entrance; from here, guests are admitted into the enclosure to explore the winding aviary tunnels or get close to a passing lemur that climbs onto the viewing platform.
Challenged by budget constraints, Snowdon Architects repurposed over 92 per cent of the existing exhibit structure and utilised sustainable and affordable natural materials to create custom pod-like viewing platforms, animal houses and feeders.
Snowdon Architects’ Lemur Exhibit has recently picked up a Commendation in this year’s Architeam Awards in the community category.