Pablo Fernandez-Villaverde

Pablo Fernandez-Villaverde

New York, NY, US


London Zoo Visitor's Center

Senior Thesis at ETSAM.

This project proposes an extension for the London Zoo, with a new volume that works both as an entrance building and as an expansion of the associated spaces, addressed for the education and research of the nature. With that aim, an elevated longitudinal volume creates a new limit of the Zoo, making it grow to the east. The extension creates a new free and open atmosphere, which blurs the privacy concept and avoid physical barriers.
The Zoo is located in Regent’s Park, one of the best public spaces in London. It is situated next to a pedestrian path that vertebrates the park, mutating at the south edge into a major street of the city. With the Zoo at the west of the broad walk, the new volume is located in the east, forcing the circulations to pass through the site and being invited to visit the new building
In order to retain the former value of the site, the project attempts to redefine its public and urban qualities. Due to this purpose, a large plaza between the building and the Zoo enhances the unity of the project, as well as it creates a dual condition park-city. A slight twist of the situation of the floor plan from the intuitive alignment with the walk generates the searched centripetal space.
The longitudinal volume rises whenever possible, to minimize the footprint, especially noticeable in its natural environment. When doing this, it forms large covered outdoor areas adjacent to the plaza. These spaces are very important due to the local climate in London, and get activated by the circulation motivated by the multiplicity of entrances to the building and its three specific foyers.
The final image, characterized by an eye-catching red aluminum façade, inspired by the prefabricated modules of Jean Prouvé, avoids the cliché of the integration as “camouflage”. Instead, the integration is a direct response to its milieu.

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Status: School Project
Location: London, GB
My Role: Only person involved