British architect opens its first zoological building in the Danish capital

An Elephant House designed by Foster + Partners has opened at Copenhagen Zoo.

The enclosure will house eight elephants in conditions designed to replicate the feel of their former Asian habitat.

In order to cater for the tendency of bull elephants to roam away from the herd, the practice designed two separate enclosures topped with glazed domes. The pattern on the glass is intended to resemble a canopy of trees. It also selected terracotta-coloured concrete and used recycled sand to build paddocks.

The Elephant House is Foster + Partners’ first zoological commission. Spencer de Grey, Foster senior executive and head of design, said: “We have designed a building that not only responds to the animals’ natural behaviour, but is also a seamless insertion into the landscape that uses the site’s natural properties to provide thermal insulation.”

The Elephant House was opened yesterday by the Prince Consort of Denmark.