A Unique Texlon® ETFE Roof

The Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park at the Zoo Zurich opened its doors to the public in June, 2014. Together with the architects Markus Schietsch Architekten, Vector Foiltec installed a Texlon® ETFE roof that makes the whole experience of living, visiting and working at the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park much more enjoyable. Above all, the light transmission and lightweight attribute of the Texlon® ETFE system is one point why they choose it as a building material.

A Texlon® ETFE Roof That Emphasizes the Natural Aspect of the Elephant Park

The roof is a spectacular part of the compound. It was designed as a flat, freely-shaped timber frame. The 550 uniquely shaped, cross-laminated spruce panels stacked in three layers are  protected by a top layer of 33-millimeter-thick Kerto Q LVL (laminated veneer lumber) panels. It is a net-shaped, transparent organic structure that is in harmony with the surrounding woodland. What is interesting about this roof is that it does not require any wooden columns or support structures inside.

The impressive compound allows members of the public to see the elephants from a completely new perspective. Visitors are able to observe the mighty animals interacting socially with one another. They look on as the elephants eat at various different food points in their landscaped space. Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park is home to Asian elephants and nine other species.

271 UV-permeable Skylights

The hall has an overall diameter of 80 meters. The light inside is provided by 271 skylights made of UV-permeable Texlon® ETFE foil. That gives a great light transmission. The skylights cover an overall surface area of 2,200 m². This gives the impression of being in a park under a canopy of leaves instead of being inside a hall. In other words, that emphasizes the natural aspect of the elephant park for Asian elephants.


Date 2013
Lieu Zürich, Switzerland
Secteur Botanic/Zoo
Taille 2,200 m²
Structure Wood
Type Roof
Architectes Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH

Contact d’expert

Geoffrey Walters
Sales Manager Germany / Scandinavia / Benelux / DACH

Outside view of the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park
The Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park roof was designed as a flat, freely-shaped timber frame.
Light transmission through the ETFE skylight
Light transmission trough the Texlon® ETFE skylight.
Elephant walking under the Texlon ETFE skylights.
The roof gives the impression of being in a park under a canopy of leaves.

Copyrights main image, top left, bottom left: © Zoo Zürich, Jean-Luc Grossmann, top right image: © Vector Foiltec

Light Transmission by Using Texlon® ETFE

Texlon® ETFE foils are incredibly transparent and allow high levels of light transmission into buildings. High levels of visible light and ultraviolet UV-A light are essential for plant growth. They pass through Texlon® ETFE. A single layer of 100 µm foil allows more than 90% of visible light and 80% of UV-A rays to pass through. This leads to a so-called bactericidal effect of light transmission, a natural phenomenon that kills bacteria: As a result, plants thrive as if they were in their natural environment. Another benefit of using Texlon® ETFE is that no artificial fertilizers or pesticides are needed for the plants inside the biomes.

Using the Texlon® system allows zoos to experience better plant growth. This allows for the animals, in this case, the elephants, to maintain a healthy diet. Living in an environment as similar as possible to their natural habitat helps elephants feel as close as possible to home.

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