A Zoo Without Animals

Competition | Zootopia: Co-creating A Shared Home for Man and Nature| 2021
Team Harvard GSD: Haixin Yin, Yiou Wang, Liwei Shen, Qiuyi Bian, Yingzhi He, Wei Wu
Advisors: Sergio Lopez-Pineiro, Dingliang Yang
Has there been a single ZOO that is NOT DESIGNED for visitors to SEE animals? Seeing and being seen translate into an imbalance of power and agency, reinforcing the objectification of animals in the modern culture. A Zoo Without Animals prophecies a future of Hongshan Zoo that transforms the relationship between humans and non-human animals from seeing and being seen to mutual encounter, redesigning the psyche of the visitor. Shifting the current zoo paradigm of an exhibition circus to a place of optional encounters, A Zoo Without Animals limits human visitors’ mobility by imposing dead ends and ha-ha walkways and optimizes animals’ living spaces in resemblance to their original habitats. The barriers of vegetation, hiding spots, landscape, and infrastructure provide animals with the choice to be exposed to humans or not. Containing human presence and gaze, it is truly designed for animals, while the variety of dead ends create diverse opportunities for humans to encounter after waiting, restoring respect, patience, and curiosity.