Wilderness and the City

architects Studio Farris Architects
project New Restaurant and Aviary, Antwerp Zoo, Antwerp, Belgium


The zoo occupies a large portion of the historical city centre, in close proximity to the central railway station that defines its border to the west. The main entrance to the zoo is on this side, paths leading to a series of facilities that accommodate various animal species. The site for Studio Farris’ project is on the opposite side of the zoo, bordering a mostly residential neighbourhood. Their intervention defines the eastern boundary of the zoo, in continuity with its historical perimeter wall. Its street facade is punctured by openings that reveal some of the inner functions to pedestrians. A series of periscopes allow views into the savannah. On the zoo side, the facade opens up to the main plaza sheltered by a series of square canopies, supported by slender columns that stem from the restaurant’s building and face the historical pavilions, where visitors may enjoy views of the apes’ enclosure on one side and the savannah on the other.