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Islands at Chester Zoo Building News

Cheshire ETFE Architectural Development, Northwest England design by AECOM Architects, UK

1 Oct 2016

Islands at Chester Zoo Building Design

Islands at Chester Zoo Building, UK
Design: AECOM, Architects

‘Islands’ At Chester Zoo Wins Award For Best Large Project Presented By The Institution Of Structural Engineers

Apes, Steel and ETFE Engineering

“But by far the most complex loads to deal with were those resulting from the Orangutans”

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

Chester Zoo has created the largest development project in the history of British zoos. ‘Islands’ showcases the zoo’s international conservation programme and takes visitors on a journey to the South-East Asian islands of the Philippines; Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi, immersing them in the sights, sounds and smells of these diverse and exotic cultures.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

The detailed design for the cable mesh to the internal animal enclosures suspended from the roof structure was completed by Tony Hogg Design. The ETFE air filled pillow system and complex architecturally exposed steel holding the dynamic loads was engineered by Novum Structures, both appointed by Laing O’Rourke following contract award.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

The cable reactions were submitted to Novum to inform the roof steelwork design and to AECOM to inform the concrete structure design. Novum provided AECOM with reactions at each pinned rib beam support where the vertical steel meets the roof steel.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

The challenging brief from the Zoo Curators was to accommodate the animal mass and dynamic behaviour of one male orangutan at 90 kg’s plus two females at 60 kg’s each, suspended from the same point on the netting.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

These characteristic orangutan loads were factored to simulate dynamic loads. These loads were to be applied anywhere in the enclosure. Novum, on completing the roof steel design provided AECOM with the three layer Novum ETFE pillow system to further aid in the quality of this forward thinking design.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

Animal Well Being With ETFE

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

For many years ETFE has been well known for its ability to allow UV light to penetrate its fluoropolymer make up. With the use of the Novum ETFE pillow system the project team on Islands were able to provide three valuable elements for the inhabitants; a great natural UV light source, insulation and air quality via an AECOM natural stack air duct and an ETFE roof ventilator system.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

Why Is Ultraviolet Light Important, especially for Birds? To promote vitamin D synthesis and absorption via their eyes and feathers.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

Just like humans, birds need a great amount of vitamin D to aid in nutrient absorption and bio-assimilation or cell recreation. A gland above the base of the tail secretes oil, and as they groom they spread this oil over their feathers This oil contains a compound that produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building

So as the Zoo’s birds groom under the ETFE in the Monsoon Forest and on Bali, they are actually mixing up a healthy batch of vitamin D on their feathers. As the aves re-groom their feathers coated in oil, they ingest the vitamin D and is converted by their kidneys and liver to active vitamin D3 to prevent hypocalcaemia, twirling and Conure Bleeding Syndrome.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building Islands at Chester Zoo Building

Because of these amazing qualities of ETFE all inhabitants, vegetation, flora and fauna thrive in this environment, for many biological reasons and the difference is very clear.

Islands at Chester Zoo Building images / information from Novum Structures UK Ltd

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Location: Chester Zoo, England, UK

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Comments / photos for the Islands at Chester Zoo Building design by AECOM Architects page welcome

Website: Chester