Energy management and distribution centre in the Budapest Zoo
The building, pressed against the “hard” border of the railway at the back of the zoo, but open to the nourishing waste and energy flow of the zoo buildings, as well as the flow of visitors, contains the fragile microbial ecosystems and machinery necessary to process the input. This hard-porous shell, housing a symbiotic relationship, is resembling a real life Lichen, the symbiosis between fungus and algae.
The section of the building draws its inspiration from the section of crustose lichen, the porous structure housing the symbiotic algae units.
The spaceframe structure of the building acts as entrance, facade, and houses the corridors running through, and allows for leading the visitors on a path around the units, sometimes inside, sometimes crossing into the exterior space – even making contact with the neighbouring elephants possible…
It is built from steel beams, covered in spray applied concrete, “shotcrete”, that gives it a thermal mass for balancing the temperature of the building, and prevents bending of the slim beams under excessive pressure by the water processing pools suspended over the heads of the visitors. The back half of the eco-centre is reserved for the operators and scientists, who are keeping a watch over the biotopes, as well as the small the biogas facility, that protrudes from the main building, reminding us about the reality of today’s hybrid biological-technological life.