Bruno Tanant and Jean Christophe Nani of landscape design firm TN PLUS together with Aldric Beckmann and Françoise N’Thépé of architects Beckmann N’Thépé have won the international competition for the new Primorskiy Zoological Park in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The same team already won the Helsinki Zoo Project in 2008, after winning in 2006 the zoo in Vincennes, France.
Project Description from the Architects:
Founded in 1865, Saint Petersburg zoo is the oldest zoological park of Russia. As most of other parks across Russia, it suffers today from a cruel lack of space, being located in the heart of the historical town center. The city has hence decided to create a new zoo, which will range over 300 hectares, on the town’s outskirts, escaping this way the high population density of the urban area. The project preserves a large strech of land, and implements an environmentally beneficial approach.
Thousands and thousands of years ago, the surface of the earth was but one and only supercontinent, known as the Pangea. Subject to tectonic forces, the Paleolithic Pangea over time broke into splinters, which slowly organised themselves in a configuration that, although always prone to movements, we still are familiar with. Ecosystems, once linked with each others, are today kept apart by oceans and seas. Species of the same origin have followed a distinct path on each separated continent.
The project offers a symbolic sample of every continent in an attempt to recreate the illusion of a reunited Pangea within the very zoological park of Saint-Petersburg. The archipelago therefore created will be made of islands representing South East Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, North America and Eurasia, the two latter being linked with each other by the pack ice of the Arctic Pole. The chosen site enjoys a profuse water supply, and hence is particularly fitted for such an insular organization of the various environments.
Nowadays the environment requirements and the green consciousness of the public are increasingly considered a core issue. The very background of a zoological park itself induces a mandatory respect of those values. Harshly criticized for a long time, zoological parks are today considered major stakeholders of biodiversty preservation. 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.
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