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Odense Zoo 2001. The big investment

In 2001 Odense Zoo could open the most ambitious Zoo project ever made in Denmark. The Municipality with a very engaged Major in front, people in Odense, The Zoo manager, Zoo staff and Gaia design all shared a very strong intention and believe: To create a Zoo experience of international standard.

Odense Zoo was not the only European institution to have that ambition, but may be the most successful one. Still today the project it is a great experience for visitors and the opening was the end of a great development where an old Zoo in few years four doubled the number of visitors and became a modern popular Zoo.

For Gaia design this was a huge challenge, but also a very interesting opportunity. Gaia design failed to complete a Master plan on 3 key points: A visitor main flow, the zoo being clearly divided into Continents and then services like toilets, eating etc. to be collected in center areas easy to find. For the first 2 key points it was to decided, that this project should be one “South America travel” with one way traffic.

Everyone will start the travel in an outdoor big Aviary, continue through a tropical house with manatees, snakes, monkeys, piranha and then go out in the ocean with tropical fish and then end up close to the South Pole to visit the most convincing Zoo entertainers: the penguins.

Whether you are building a House for one family or you or the house has to please a thousand different families one still have to focus on every single step people take. Do they know where to go? Is it easy to get around? Do they have nice views? Do people have the feeling that everything is made with care for their sake.

A zoo experience is like watching a film, but a very personal film, because the visitor controls the camera himself. But also a personal film in that sense, that the visitor may see something very unique. First of all a zoo experience for most visitors is something shared as a family and that is an important point.

If you want first of all to learn about nature and the animals, go on the internet or watch some of many fantastic films about nature and animals.

For Gaia design this project was the company’s biggest assignment. Making big scale models of every single m2, drawings and models of buildings, all the decorations, artificial Rocks and trees and water streams. It took a year – a very busy year.