Adelaide’s prized pandas have gathered yet another honour with the Giant Panda forest and Entrance Precinct at Adelaide Zoo being named South Australian Development of the Year at last night’s Property Council / Rider Levett Bucknall Innovation and Excellence Awards.
Developed by Zoos South Australia and designed by HASSELL, the Giant Panda Forest at the Adelaide Zoo was recently described by a Chinese Government delegation as the “world’s leading exhibit” for these iconic and endangered animals.
Property Council of Australia (SA Division) Executive Director Nathan Paine said that since completion The Zoo has experienced a 70 per cent increase in visitor numbers as well as a 25 per cent increase in Zoo membership. More than 30 per cent of visitors have come from interstate or overseas.
“This is another example of how excellence in the built environment can have huge flow-on benefits for the community,” Mr Paine said.
In 2007, Adelaide Zoo entered into a co-operative conservation agreement with the Chinese Government and has been entrusted with the care of two Giant Pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, for the next 10 years. The arrival of the Giant Pandas have since become a catalyst for significant physical and cultural change at Adelaide Zoo.
To cater for increased visitor numbers, HASSELL has worked with the Zoo to deliver a new Entrance Precinct. This significant civic space for Adelaide both embodies the aspirations of Zoos SA to engage with the community, and communicates the Zoo’s objectives to visitors.
Along with the new Entrance Precinct the design is an ambitious integration of physical, cultural and organisational strategies. The built environment embodies the Zoo’s core principles of environment, education, conservation and research. It redefines the twenty-first century concept of a zoo as a contemporary conservation organisation that embraces vital breeding and research programs.
Director of national awards Principal Sponsor Rider Levett Bucknall Stephen Knight said collaboration on the project yielded superb functional and aesthetic results, successfully incorporating the existing landscape and environment. “The Adelaide Zoo is an icon within the South Australian community and RLB has been proud to be involved with this project,” Mr Knight said.
Recognising excellence in the built environment, the awards is the pre-eminent property awards program in Australia. The annual awards program heralds the achievements of the sector’s finest professionals and companies.