Lietuvos zoologijos sodas (Zoo Sodas) was established in 1938. It is located on a sloping site, covered with different species of majestic trees. It is the only zoo in Lithuania and has applied for an EAZA membership. In order to be accepted by EAZA the zoo needs to upgrade its existing exhibits to modern standards of animal husbandry. Many animal quarters are outdated, not doing right to animal welfare.
As partner in a design and build team – together with a local contractor – we particpated in a tender to developed a new masterplan for the zoo. We provided more detailed conceptual designs for 16 existing and new buildings. The new central square is the heart of the masterplan and is surrounded by the new Exotarium, the new Info Media Centre and a conservatory. A few old building from the Sovjet era are redesigned into new contemporary buildings. Others are newly designed. The Exotarium for instance is a new building with water basins for fish, habitats for tropical birds and reptiles with a total floor area of 3.000 m2. The new educational centre is 1.500 m2 in total. The rest of the buildings are smaller in size. There are new shelters and enclosures foreseen for, among others, lions, snow leopards, tigers, wolfs, ungulate mammals, giraffes, and foxes.
The architecture of the smaller structures is purposely modest, so to adapt to the network of visitors trails and to blend in with the natural surroundings of the zoo. These smaller structures share a common design, with green roofs and simple basic materials such as brickwork and a timber construction. The main buildings however are larger in scale and therefore more prominent. We did not try to blend in these buildings with their surroundings, we deliberately gave them a right to exist. These buildings function as modest landmarks and are a reference for the visitors to find their way in the zoo.