hyacinth


ARTIFICIAL TREES

A HOUSE FOR BIRDS, ZOO RAPPERSWIL, LAKE OF ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, 1999.

it is indeed a challenging job to build a cage for birds, because it is rather an act of limiting their freedom than providing a home for them. the question arose, how to offer the maximum possible comfort and minimum of awareness of the restricted habitat to these very intelligent parrots called hyazinth. we studied their behavior as free living creatures and a surprising fact was that they spend a lot of time on the ground too. as we were not able to influence the dimensions of space we focussed on:

the form and meaning of it
the similarity of the new zoo context to their natural environment
the structure of the aviary in order to reflect nature

the shape of the aviary is a smooth one, similar to visualized and spatially connected auras of trees. the smoothness of the form is meant to affect the bird's awareness of enclosed space in a calming, soft manner. the parrots can not only move from artificial tree to artificial tree but also spend time in each oft the auras of them. the form provides articulated and connected spaces.

the proposal for the location is one of placing the cage on a morphologically modulated part in the zoo, next to a lake. this situation offers an articulated landscape, where different interactions can take place in different areas. the parrots are not completely exposed to the visitors. they are free to move to another more intimate part of the open landscape or even to pull back into a space under ground, where they can warm up in winter time.

the main structure is one of artificial metallic trees, clad with wood. in this manner these three artificial trees offer a similar possibility of movement as it exists in nature. the parrots can maintain their instinctive way of movement and even exercise it automatically and hopefully feel as well as possible.