On the central axis of the Rotterdam zoo stands the former Lion House, a neo-baroque listed building designed by Sybold van Ravesteyn. After the relocation of the lions, this elongated building will house a group of geladas, an active baboon species from the Ethiopian Highlands.
In order to render it suitable for the future, the building will be restored and extended with an outdoor cage on the side facing the square, building onto the current ‘temporary’ wall where an aquarium was once intended to be built. In this way, the central square opposite the Rivièrahal becomes a recognizable entrance and a spatial imbalance is corrected.
The new outdoor cage follows the contours of the projected aquarium, except that the corners have been rounded to give a more fluid path to the area behind the building, and the volume is slightly constricted around its middle to preserve the view of the distinctive chimney. The cage is cadenced by a concrete portal construction and adopts the height of the current building. On the roof, a steel vault structure provides additional climbing space and lends the building a graceful silhouette.
Stichting Koninklijke Rotterdamse Diergaarde