Base Structures were originally approached by the Zoo to offer their expertise to design an enclosure and aviary solution for a number of new home’s for Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques, Rhinoceros hornbill’s and Bali starlings, on the new £40m development, Island Projects, at Chester Zoo.
The main focus as always with any type of zoo enclosure is on the animal welfare, therefore very careful consideration was given on the selection and approach for the mesh netting, to ensure these critically endangered and beautiful species were provided with a safe and secure environment.
Utilising our network of specialist suppliers, we were able to select the appropriate stainless steel mesh product, and design an interface solution with other substrates on the enclosure, in a way that the orangutan in particular could not unpick or find a weakness.
The macaque enclosure, and hornbill and Bali starlings aviaries although less challenging, specific detail still had to be considered with regard to minimal visual impact, and a protective and secure environment for the apes and birds.
All of the enclosures and aviaries were delivered on time and to programme, through some challenging weather conditions, and the end client was extremely satisfied with the end result, that is the animals of course!
Bristol Zoo asked us to help with a new primate enclosure for the Howler monkeys.
Base helped to design and build a habitat that maximised space and openness by incorporating natural features and using knotted 0.5mm gauge stainless steel wire, mechanically fixed to structural cables.
The innovative knotted 0.5mm wire provides a safe and monkey-proof enclosure for the howler monkeys as well as an unobtrusive visual experience for visitors.
This project was an exciting new build as part of Bristol Zoo’s development into their primate area including a enclosure for the Lemurs.
This enclosure was roofed and walled in durable and tough Polyethylene knotted net, hand stitched and mechanically fixed to the structural cables. Our installation team were able to put their professional climbing skills and working at height expertise into good use on this enclosure, as well as their expertise in making the netting monkey-proof!
As part of a refurbishment to an existing zoo structure, Base were asked to provide a cost effective solution to the net wall and roof replacement for the Bat enclosure at Bristol Zoo.
Using a black, knotless polypropylene net, this is a product with excellent durability, being both rot proof and UV stable. These nets were mechanically fixed to structural cables providing a safe and happy home for the animals.
Bat photography by Bristol Zoo.
As part of a project housing for an existing zoo enclosure, Base Structures were asked to find the perfect solution for Bristol Zoo’s flamingo aviary.
For this project, we were able to provide the materials and expertise to wall and roof this structure in Polypropylene knotless mesh.
The resultant complete refurbishment of the area provides the flamingos with a lifelike habitat and for the public, an exciting walk through structure.
A large walk-through aviary structure was needed for the popular visitor attraction, Birdworld in Farnham, Surrey. This project was to be designed as a seashore zoo enclosure to house nesting Hammerkop, waders and other coastal birds that are part of the international breeding program, helping to ensure the survival of their species.
We decided to use tough 25x25mm knotted fire-rated polyethelene as it is a visually unobtrusive material, almost creating an invisible effect. A primary design feature for this aviary is that the netting is designed to be easily raised and lowered from within the enclosure by a system of ropes and pulleys. This provides incredibly easy access to the netting for maintenance and repair without the inconvenience of using access machinery, ensuring time and cost savings for the entire future of the structure.
Another key consideration in designing and installing this aviary was for it to have as low an environmental impact as possible, in both it’s material specification and construction techniques. Therefore, fully engineered timber posts were selected to support the netting and installation techniques were used that required no concrete for the foundations, making huge environmental savings.
With the help of their new visually appealing and environmentally friendly enclosure, the coastal birds live on!
Banham Zoo in Norfolk, needed a mesh structure to house the newly arrived Snow Leopard, however two very important criteria were taken into consideration. Firstly, to have an enclosure that allowed the public to see the snow leopard fully and also that had a unique and striking design to attract attention.
Our scope of work was to design, supply and install the supporting steel structure and netting. By using a state of the art woven stainless steel net structure, the net creates an almost invisible barrier between the public and the leopard, ticking all the boxes on the brief. We also had the net structure designed and manufactured in-house, specifically for this project to create the effect required.
It was a successful installation and Banham zoo are very pleased with the results, as was the Snow Leopard!
Chessington World of Adventures Zoo required assistance in re-developing their existing Squirrel Monkey enclosure with a new netted roof.
We designed, supplied and installed a bespoke solution that involved fitting PE mesh netting to the exiting support timber frame and monkey housing.
The new net roof has dramatically increased the living space available to the squirrel monkeys by allowing them to explore up and out of their existing enclosure whilst still being housed safely.
Back in 2002 we installed this very unique net structure to create the Living Coast Aviary for Paignton Zoo, it is a multipurpose aviary housing several species of bird from waders and penguins to auks and terns. It also ads a dramatic visual to the attraction for visitors and to the Torquay coast skyline.
Since then we have been providing regular maintenance to the structure and in particular at the end of 2016 completed a 6 year programme of gradually upgrading the structural components to extend the lifespan of the aviary. This included replacing the cable rope with PVC coated cable and replacing most of the net panels, the result is that this 15 year old structure is essentially brand new again.
The installation was mostly carried out using rope access techniques. It was a great success and we are very pleased to have been involved in this landmark project.
The Aviary is a very effective structure which both Vector and Paignton Zoo are very happy with.
Polyethylene net in this coastal location does require regular maintenance and upgrading, but over all is still considerably more economical than stainless steel mesh yet just as effective. We can provide this ongoing maintenance service and have highly skilled industrial rope access and fabric technicians, see bottom right images of our technicians carrying out maintenance works.
The critically endangered Sumatran tiger is one of the rarest subspecies of tiger with a remaining wild population of approximately 300 individuals. Due to a combination of poaching, habitat loss and human conflict the Sumatran tiger population has suffered a staggering 95% decline in the last decade, placing it at high risk of extinction on the IUCN Red List.
ZSL London Zoo have been working across the globe in a major effort to improve the fate of the Sumatran tiger, culminating with a new flagship ‘Tiger Territory’ facility. Not only enabling the zoo to embark on a critical breeding programme, ‘Tiger Territory’ also allows experts to gain valuable information about the elusive creatures that can be applied to conservation projects in the field. Tiger Territory is intended to be a centre to match-make Sumatran tigers from around the world, with the first inhabitants scheduled to be Jae Jae and Melati. Selected by the global breeding programme for the critically endangered species and prized as Europe’s most genetically important pair of Sumatran tigers, their cubs would be the first to be born at ZSL London Zoo for over 15 years.
Robin Fitzgerald, Project Manager, ZSL London Zoo
Harry Everest, Project Manager, ZSL London Zoo
Mike Kozdon, Architect, Wharmby Kozdon Architects
Gavin Sayer, Associate, Dexter Associates
Andy Traynor, Head of Installation/Director, Base Structures
Andy Chiverton, Project Manager, Base Structures
For a project of such global significance the stakes were high for the new zoo structure. The primary focus was on animal welfare, conservation and the creation of the perfect environment for animal husbandry – rather than the creation of an architectural masterpiece. As Robin Fitzgerald, Project Manager at ZSL London Zoo summarised ‘Our goal was to seek out the latest technologies and designs that could match our husbandry and habitat requirements while still satisfying visitor needs.’
Key objectives were set out with a team of conservationists, tiger keepers and education specialists. From a habitat perspective the zoo enclosure clearly needed generous proportions, especially in height – the Sumatran tiger is a keen climber with a preference for observing its terrain from a high vantage point and can boast an impressive vertical jumping ability of up to five metres. The facility also had to meet strict husbandry requirements and be practical for everyday zoo keeper use. Capacity for future additions had to be factored in as well as the sustainability and energy efficiency of the enclosure. From a visitor perspective it was vital to offer a spectacular viewing experience with multiple perspectives, including a prominent, highly visible platform for the education department to deliver talks. All of this needed to be achieved within the existing constraints of the 186 year old site and adjacent architecture.
A team was assembled to turn this vision into reality that included Mike Kozdon of Wharmby Architects and specialist consultants including Base Structures and structural engineers Dexter Associates. Collaborating closely with the zoo, the team could apply the specialist knowledge that is necessary to turn the brief into not only a workable concept, but a flagship zoo enclosure.
A woven mesh structure was designed that could mould itself around the existing footprint shape and soar upwards into peaks, providing the necessary vertical jumping space. This design was not simply a response to the existing site geometry however. 90° angles were carefully and deliberately designed out to present sloping, organic lines to better reflect nature. A 3mm diameter cable woven 316 stainless steel mesh was selected with a 100mm x 100mm aperture – aesthetically the mesh would provide a thrilling experience for the public by virtue of its unobtrusive appearance. Floor to ceiling glass viewing panels topped with a fabric canopy would also allow the public to stand within millimetres of the tigers.
Tiger Territory was intended to be ultimate big cat exhibit for both visitors and the cats themselves. The dramatic form of the zoo enclosure creates a wonderful sense of drama when approaching Tiger Territory through the zoo grounds, yet the unobtrusive mesh allows the enclosure to simply fade away into the background when the tigers are viewed at close quarters. ZSL London Zoo’s brand new Sumatran tiger enclosure was given the royal seal of approval on Wednesday 20th March 2013, when it was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
The Sumatran tiger enclosure was given the ultimate seal of approval on the 3rd February 2014 when a trio of healthy cubs were born to five year old Sumatran tigress Melati. Hidden cameras in the cubbing den allowed the zoo to remotely monitor the birth and the progress of the cubs 24 hours a day, with exclusive footage released on the ZSL You Tube channel (www.youtube.com/user/ZSLvideo.). The births are not only a huge achievement for ZSL London Zoo but also the international breeding program.
“The project demanded a large, fully enclosed secure environment whose barrier was as invisible as possible. Standard building construction and engineering methods are not suitable for good zoo projects, the key is to adapt materials and technology to suit the purpose.”