Working collaboratively with Ola Studios and Arterial Design, Urban Initiatives has created an engaging, conservation-driven experience for animals and visitors alike at Melbourne Zoo. Along this highly popular and successful walk through the enclosure, visitors and Ring-tailed Lemurs share a space, one through which visitors travel as they cross paths with the animals that occupy it.
The aim was to curate a landscape, which references the Lemurs’ natural Madagascan habitat, where the experience unfolds, gently revealing views and changes in the landscape as visitors journey through the space.
A striking, natural woven-rattan entrance incorporates an airlock and introduces a materiality and form which is repeated throughout the exhibit.
Once through the woven airlock, the visitor’s journey extends across a stream and timber bridge (with integrated misting system) into the spiny forest for a close-up encounter with the Ring-Tailed Lemurs. A sunken seating area serves as a space for the keepers to conduct presentations and handfeeding.
At the eastern end, the exhibit becomes an arboreal experience as visitors pass over the stream via an elevated timber boardwalk and into the rainforest landscape. The Lemurs freely move above and around visitors via a network of arboreal vines and climbing poles, avoiding the public if they choose.
In addition to conservation messaging, the project was strongly focused on minimising environmental impacts and integrating meaningful sustainability measures. Urban Initiatives worked together with Melbourne Zoo to reuse most of the materials from the existing exhibits. Approximately 95% of materials were recycled or diverted from landfill.
Melbourne Zoo, Parkville, Victoria
Arterial Design , OLA Studios