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Panda House, BIG

Ying and Yang at the Copenhagen Zoo: Panda House by BIG

The Panda House, designed by BIG, Schønherr Architects and MOE, is the new home of panda pair Mao Sun and Xing Er. According to Jørgen Nielsen, CEO of the Copenhagen Zoo, generous donations from 16 Danish companies funded study trips to China to consult with experts in zoology and veterinary medicine in order to create the most natural living space for the endangered animals.

The plan is structured as yin and yang, a masculine and a feminine side which join as complementary halves of a circular whole. Except for the mating season, pandas are solitary by nature. Drawing on the Taoist yin-yang symbol, the Panda House features a contrasting spatial program that nevertheless functions as a whole, explains David Zahle, a partner at BIG.

Slight rises at the end of each side create a hilly landscape that provides a direct view of the life shared by Mao Sun and Xing Er. At the same time, the many varieties of bamboo and other plants, rocky outcroppings and climbing trees create distinct living spaces where the pandas can withdraw.

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