Edmonton Valley Zoo Makira Outpost

The Makira Outpost is a Lemur Pavilion that was nearing construction completion at the Edmonton Valley Zoo when BJ(A)L merged with Group2 Architecture Engineering. It backs onto its north property line and opens fully to the south, trapping the intense sun of the region and welcoming visitors through an entry forecourt. Visitors encounter the lemurs either indoors or outdoors, through zoomesh, glass or across a moat to an exterior exhibition island.

The moat and island are created from a paved open space, using existing mature trees to define the outdoor habitat. Since lemurs are averse to water, the outdoor habitat is kept seemingly without barriers using a natural (moat) enclosure. The railings keep people out rather than hold the animals in.

The building is a floating, tent like roof, its supporting concrete columns wrapped in textured rope, with a series of steel tube branches connecting to wood glue laminated beams above. The animals wander freely and playfully through the structure in a natural, tropical habitat devoid of the unnecessary typical ‘bric a brac’ often used to entertain these rare animals. The pavilion uses recycled grey water, contains a vegetated living wall and maintains a passive solar tropical habitat natually in a climateologically oriented building design, with no applied finishes. The lemurs have successfully bred in this new facility that has won a number of zoology and sustainable design awards from around North America.