Destination Africa

Calgary, Alberta

Client: Calgary Zoological Society
Size: 7.4 acres

Destination Africa opened to the public in January 2003 as the largest and most significant new facility developed at the Calgary Zoo in several decades.

This unique cultural environment includes two pavilions: The TransAlta Rainforest pavilion is a tropical adventure whereas the African Savannah pavilion includes a Safari Lodge, a 350-person capacity banquet facility and an African-themed restaurant. Here, animals are viewed in a natural context; bars are non-existent, as other means of containment and safety are employed, creating a visually seamless interface between visitor and animals.

While the size of the buildings are very large, considerable attention has been given to reducing their relative scale. Massing is broken down into smaller elements so a large building is perceived as a small cluster of buildings.