Faced with the challenge of creating an anxiety-free habitat for zoo animals, the Danish
architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) developed Zootopia, a seemingly barrier-free
concept for the redesign of Denmark’s Givskud Zoo. The plan encompasses 1. 2 million
square meters ( 12. 9 million square feet) and features three wildlife zones: America, Asia
“The zoo’s ambition was to try to be a place where visitors don’t notice the barriers
between them and the animals,” Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, told Vice.
To create a more natural environment for the animals, man-made structures will be
hidden in the habitats beneath rolling hills, rock-based enclosures and other structures.
The centrally located visitor’s center also blends into habitats, obscured from the animals’ sight. From there, guests enter each of the zoo’s continent zones by boat, bike,
vehicle, on foot or inside pods that function like cable cars.
Richard Østerballe, director of Givskud Zoo, told Gizmag that he estimates the entire
redesign project will take 20 years to complete. The first phase began in 2012 and is slated
for a partial opening in 2019, coinciding with the zoo’s 50th anniversary.
LOCATION: Givskud, Denmark
1. 2 million square meters
SCHEDULE: First phase slated for
completion in 2019
“We want to eradicate all experience
of fences and buildings, making Zootopia
the universe of animals.”
—Richard Østerballe, director, Givskud Zoo, to Gizmag