Image Courtesy of Beckmann N'Thépé
The Leningrad, or St Petersburg Zoo, founded in 1865, is the oldest in Russia, and its age is indicative of its condition. Built in a time when zoos were designed to put animals on display rather than as centers of research and learning where the animals are well treated, this zoo suffers from a lack of space, especially as it's located in the city's historical town center.
But that's about to change: the city has announced the creation of a new zoo outside the city. Spreading over 300 hectares (1.15 square miles), the new St Petersburg Zoo will feature a great, green design and aim to recreate the bygone supercontinent, Panagaea.
Speaking about the spirit of the project, a press release wrote:
The very background of a zoological park
itself induces a mandatory respect of those values...Even though it is an artificially recreated leisure area, the Primorskiy Park is above all an educational tool allowing each and everyone of us to better grasp our own history, and also a research center helping to preserve our Earth. So much goals were aimed both by architects and landscape designers of this project who managed to convince and share their ambitions.
The zoo's design is the work of architects Françoise N'Thépé and Aldric Beckmann, and landscape designers Bruno Tanant et Jean Christophe Nani. The two teams have already worked together to redesign zoos in Paris and Helsinki.
To recreate Panagaea, the name for the land mass that once comprised the now disparate seven continents, the zoo will be build as an archipelago. A series of islands will represent South East Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, North America and Eurasia. North America and Eurasia will be connected by a section of ice representing the Arctic.
But for a the project's coolness, it's unclear how maintaining the continents as separate will reunify the supercontinent. More importantly, there's little mention of exactly where sustainability will come in, such as reduced energy and water use (for a great example, check out the Cincinnati Zoo's new solar canopy). Moving outside the city is an understandable move in this case, but will public transportation be available to get visitors to the zoo? So for the moment, it's a good-looking idea with a lot of potential, but that leaves some questions unanswered.
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More on zoos:
Are Frozen Zoos The Conservation Effort of the Future?
Animals Taunted and Confined at Bahawlpur Zoo (Video)
The National Zoo Sees Opportunity for Innovation in its Green Challenges