Madagascar Basecamp, Chester Zoo

Working in very close collaboration with BCA Landscape Architects from Liverpool we have just delivered two very involved projects at Chester Zoo for their new Madagascar themed play space. As well as physical play the design team have tried to develop more role playing and creative play into the scheme – So we have the Basecamp Building – field research centre complete with zoological investigation station, eating and hanging out spaces for young scientists. The basecamp also functions as an events stage and focal meeting space for the new zone.

We worked with the BCA Landscape team to design a timber framed building which is based on a traditional English barn but has been modified to give it a tropical Madagascan feel. The sides are open and the internal space is tall, and you can see the underside of the western red cedar roof shingles from inside. The colourful Louvre doors can be swung into different positions to subdivide the space and as they are porous enhance the tropical feel to the building.

All the units and the louvres in the base camp are made from the same Douglas fir as the structure so the building and its furniture blend together. The furniture is all to scale for young children and is in a simple robust functional style befitting its Madagascan inspiration.