The new ‘green screens’ on Taronga Zoo’s Wildlife Retreat accommodation buildings demonstrate how green facades can double up as fall protection barriers.
The Retreat, designed by Cox Architecture and built by Taylor Constructions, comprises 62 luxury accommodation rooms within five multi-storey buildings or ‘pods’, as well as an entry pavilion, a restaurant and an external terrace.
The pods, which are connected via elevated walkways, overlook central animal sanctuaries. This enables guests to enjoy an immersive experience with Australian native species such as koalas and the platypus.
Each pod also has its own green barrier, made from vertical wire cables that support climbing plants at each level. By acting as both green facades and safety barriers, safety codes are met and aesthetic appeal is created as well. Another benefit in this particular project is that the green barriers support the retreat’s theme of sustainability and native flora and fauna.
Tensile’s role was the design, supply and installation of the wire cables for the screens. We selected Jakob 4mm stainless steel wire rope to provide a robust support structure for the climbing greenery.
Prior to the installation, we worked with the zoo and the landscape architect Turf Design on design development. For our part, this involved creating a prototype on site to show how the finished result would work. We were able to demonstrate how the vertical wires would provide consistency and stability, despite the level of expected dynamic movement across the facades.
For the zoo, a major priority was to achieve dense plant growth relatively quickly – a situation that typically requires cross cables to be installed.
However, we were able to combine our knowledge and experience with that of the Turf team to come up with a better solution. The installed cables run in a continuous vertical pattern across the building facades, balconies and walkways, supporting native plants at every level and providing fall protection.
A collaborative effort
The completed project is the result of a very collaborative effort to bring all the elements together.
The green barriers themselves create privacy, shading and a dappled-light effect for the guests, while still allowing for fantastic views of Sydney Harbour.
The greenery also brings a softness and lushness to the buildings and barriers, enabling the enjoyment of a leafy canopy at every level.
Tensile is proud to have played a part in such a unique project – especially one that will no doubt continue to provide a delightful wildlife experience for visitors for many years to come.