Elephant Zoo

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Project: Elephant house

Function: Elephant house for zoo Zurich

Client: WaltGalmarini AG

Location: Zürich, Switzerland

Involvement of AEE: Design of Structural Concerte

Duration: 2011- 2013


The total project consists of outdoor facilities and a building of about 5,500 m2 including an indoor compound for the ele- phants, management section and visiting area. The wooden shell roof structure has big sized openings. The wooden roof spans 80m. The maximum height from the ground is about 18m. The roof support and foundation structure is made from structural concrete at six locations. Vested with the task of the bearing structure, the huge later- al forces from the ‘arch’ shape of the roof had to be carried down to the foundation using thin tapering n-like columns with limited dimensions. Also, the forces have a toppling ef- fect on these bearing structures. Other interesting features are loads from the elephant themselves. Elephant leaning or hitting a wall should not cause damage and such load cases were interesting to analyze and design for. To bring both vertical and horizontal forces to the founda- tion with limited dimensions, the n like columns had to be post-tensioned at locations. At other locations, the founda- tion needed permanent anchoring because the weights of the bearing structures and/or its lateral dimensions were not su cient.