Leisure and Tourism

Marwell Zoo Tropical House

Client: Marwell Wildlife

  • Masterplanning

  • Architecture

  • Town planning

  • Landscape architecture

  • Heritage

  • Environmental planning

“Building the UK’s future zoos requires a knowledge and respect for conservation and animal welfare, and the ability to challenge the accepted relationship between the landscape and the building.

Terence O’Rourke worked with us to understand the complex relationships and requirements of the ‘Wild Explorers’ species and assisted in producing a truly world class exhibit, respectful of our ethos.”

JAMES CRETNEY, Chief Executive
Marwell Wildlife

The Tropical House at Marwell is a state-of-the-art exhibit that uses changes of level and immersive landscape to create a home for a range of animals and creatures. These include large reptiles, sloths, small primates and an aquarium with exotic fish.

The exhibit forms a functioning energy centre incorporating an immersive, living tropical exhibit; an ecosystem synonymous with global climate control, and a discovery zone demonstrating renewable energy technology. The design and function of the building itself is integral to the interpretation. The flow of energy through life is illustrated with plants and animals within an immersive and living tropical exhibit.

The form of the building has been developed to take advantage of the site contours and to create an interesting internal route through the exhibit. An elongated ‘S’ shaped plan was developed to provide an elevated entry / low level exit from the structure, whilst a sinuous thermal wall acts as the split between the Tropical House and energy centre with a lightweight roof structure of ETFE and elegant curving steel beams forming the main building envelope.