BIG designs Panda House in Copenhagen inspired by ‘Ying Yang’ symbol


Architect firm BIG has designed a “yin-yang” inspired enclosure for a pair of giant pandas due to move to Copenhagen Zoo.

Images courtesy of BIG.

The indoor and outdoor Panda House is set to open in 2018  with the animals being relocated from Chengdu, China.


Copenhagen Zoo – one of the oldest in Europe – asked Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG, Schønherr Landscape Architects and consultancy MOE to create the enclosure.

Images courtesy of BIG.

The area will provide a variety of environments and separate spaces for the male and female pandas.

“To design a home for someone is like capturing their essence, their character and personality in built form,” said Ingels. “In the case of the two great pandas, their unique solitary nature requires two similar but separate habitats – one for her and one for him.”

The layout mimics the Chinese yin-yang symbol that represents opposite but balanced forces within a circle. Each half will tilt up at either end to create an undulating landscape across two levels.

Images courtesy of BIG.

A bamboo forest covers one side, and a more dense forest takes up the other – both designed to recreate the panda’s habitats in the wild.

Images courtesy of BIG.

Ramps will circle the Panda House so visitors can move from viewing the indoor spaces on the ground floor to the open-air areas above.

Images courtesy of BIG.

“The curvy lines are undulating in section to create the necessary separation between him and her – as well as between them and us,” said Ingels.

Images courtesy of BIG.

The ground floor will also includes a restaurant from which visitors will be able to watch the pandas, as well as elephants in their Norman Foster-designed enclosure opposite.

Images courtesy of BIG.

“Located at the heart of the park, we have made the entire enclosure accessible from 360 degrees, turning the two pandas into the new rotation point for Copenhagen Zoo,” Ingels said.

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