How to Keep Elephants in a Glass House - A New Elephant House for the Copenhagen Zoo
Rasmus Ingomar Petersen
Kaare K. B. Dahl
|Published in:||Structural Engineering International, August 2008, n. 3, v. 18|
When the end-user is a herd of Asian elephants weighing up to 5 500 kg each, extra care is needed in the design of the physical environment. Even more so when the requirement for natural daylight makes it necessary to provide the building with a glass roof. The new elephant house of the Copenhagen Zoo is intended to set a benchmark for all future housing of elephants in inner city zoos that come under the northern climate zone. The 3300 m 2 building with 5000 m 2 landscaped outdoor facilities will provide the zoo's herd of eight Asian elephants with the best in animal husbandry and welfare. For a structural engineer, the design of an elephant house is "back to first principles" in the determination of the loads and in making sure that adequate robustness is provided. Visitors to the new structure will also place a large demand on the strength of the building, as more than 1,2 million visitors will pass through the building each year. Among these will be parents with prams and school children, making it essential that the visitors' section of the building also must be able to resist considerable wear and tear.
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