Our Architecture team worked with Bristol Zoological Society to develop designs for Bear Wood - a new bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine habitat at Wild Place Project in South Gloucestershire, which opened in July 2019. The exhibit focuses on protecting threatened habitats by creating a sustainable future for wildlife and people through conservation and education work.
The project aimed to create an immersive experience, so the team had to design the built environment and movement around the space with these at the forefront - pushing the boundaries between observer and observed to create a safe and open environment. Bear Wood also features a Ranger Station, interactive classroom, an interpretation space and a café.
Covering around 7.5 acres, the attraction tells the story of British woodland from 8,000 BC to the present day and is home to European brown bears, wolverines, lynxes and wolves, as well as hundreds of native animal and plant species.
Visitors enter through a time chamber, stepping back in time to when these species were native to Bristol and the UK. They follow a raised wooden walkway through the wood, where people will be able to stand in a special viewing den with 180-degree floor to ceiling windows, placing them inches away from the bears, seeing these remarkable animals living amongst the trees as they would have done thousands of years ago.
Bear Wood was shortlisted for a Green Heart Hero Award in the Outdoor Innovation category, in 2020. The awards are run by the Climate Coalition, a charity dedicated to action against climate change.
Read more on the project here and visit the Wild Place Project webiste here.
As featured within The Independent, The Guardian and the The Daily Mail.