Masoala Rain Forest Hall, Zurich, Switzerland

Constructed Nature

Client: Zoo Zürich
Architecture: Gautschi Storrer
Period: 1994 – 2003
Surface area: 45 000m2

The first impression on entering the rain forest of the hall is its exotic climate. Warm, heavy, and humid air envelops visitors and plants alike. The humidity is immediately soaked up by the protective clothing. Constantly changing scents of mould and blossoms confuse the senses. The sonorous roaring of the waterfall gradually increases until it is, all of a sudden, visible between the trees in the distance. Twittering and chirping add their own mood to the uniform background noise and suggest the presence of cicadas and birds. Full of promise, fruits draw us to the trees, but only the animals succumb to their attraction. The visible is only part of this exotic world. The old familiarity of our daily environment is called into question. Ultimately, what we see dissolves and our glance is lost among finely crafted palm fronds, mighty tree trunks, and the constantly changing play of light and shade.