The New Elephant House

    Publications: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


    This paper outlines the digital design processes involved in the design and construction of the new Elephant House at Copenhagen Zoo. Early design concepts for the canopy were tested using physical sketch models. The geometric complexity of these early physical models led to the involvement of the Specialist Modelling Group (SMG) and the use of the computer to digitally sketch 3D CAD models. After many studies, the complex form of the canopies was rationalised using torus geometry. A computer program was written to generate the canopy glazing and structure. This parametric system was developed to be a design tool, and was developed by an architectural designer working with the team. Through its use the team were able to explore more design options, and alter the design farther along in the design process; however, this generative tool was created largely as a CAD efficiency tool. Another series of computer programs were written to generate and populate a shading system based on environmental analysis. Unlike the computer program that generated the structure and glazing, this program was not developed to make the generation of complex geometric structures more efficient, but developed to explore computational approaches that would have been impossible without the computer. Most of the canopy’s design was communicated to fabricator through a geometry method statement, a method that has been proven to be effective in the past. The project completed in June 2008.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationElements of Parametric Design
    Number of pages11
    Place of PublicationMilton Park, Abingdon, Oxon
    Publication date2010
    ISBN (Print)0-415-77986-3 (hbk), 0-415-77987-1 (pbk), 978-0-415-77986-9 (hbk), 978-0-415-77987-6 (pbk)
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • parametric design
    • Digital design
    • digital fabrication
    • computation

    Artistic research

    • No

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