Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park Zürich Zoo

  • Date
  • 2013
  • Location
  • Switzerland, Zürich
  • Size
  • 2,200 m²
  • Sector
  • Botanic, Zoos
  • Structure
  • Wood
  • Application
  • Roof Lights
  • Architect
  • Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH


The Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park at Zoo Zurich opened its doors to the public on 7 June 2014. This impressive compound will allow members of the public to see the elephants from a completely new perspective. Visitors will be able to observe the mighty animals reacting socially with one another and look on as the elephants eat at various different food points in their new landscaped compound.


The roof is a spectacular part of the new compound. It was designed as a flat, freely-shaped wooden frame. It is a net-like, transparent organic structure that is in harmony with the surrounding woodland. The hall has an overall diameter of 80 metres. The roof does not require any wooden columns or support structures inside.


Light in the hall is provided by 271 skylights made of UV-permeable Texlon® ETFE foil covering an overall surface area of 2,200 square metres. This gives the impression of being in a park under a canopy of leaves instead of being inside a hall, which again emphasises the “natural” aspect of the elephant park.


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 unfiltered through Texlon® ETFE – a single layer of 100µm 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, which means that plants thrive as if they were in their natural environment. Another benefit of using Texlon® ETFE foils is that no article fertilisers or pesticides are needed for the plants inside the biomes.



Main Image: © Zoo Zürich-Peter Bollinger