We can watch movies to see what the first zoos were like. In “The panther woman” by Jacques Tourner, Simon Simon visits the zoo cages very often. These are three concrete walls and one wall with metal bars where animals are shown as trophies or hunting objects.
As time goes by, zoos, like parks do, have changed their architecture, even though they still keep that jail sense. The goal of the architects that build today’s zoos is to show and teach humans how animals can live in their ecosystem of origin. They intend to find the most appropriate climatic environment so many kinds of animal species can live together. To achieve that, different micro spaces are built, creating an artificial nature through architecture. The aim is not to create a definitive landscape but fix the special conditions and strategies that need to be kept. These zoos are different and precious places where architecture, animals, plants, colors, sounds and smells live together. People demand more constancy and that is why they look after respect towards nature in this urban world we live in. These house-jails, like thematic parks, have been isolated, surrounded by nature in order to create a specific landscape and to keep them from the city’s pollution and noise. The only thing that changes from one day to the next one is the people that come by. When the lights turn off, animals turn into lonely pieces of furniture. Before, only wild animals were shown in big cages. Now, in addition to animals, they try to build a home for them. That is why nature has become an essential part of the exhibition. After all, zoos are places for us to enjoy our free time. On the other hand, it is also true that they have also become a safe place for animals in danger of extinction. But that means that we imprison all the animals with the same condition. We can admire architecture in a fish bowl and in a bird’s cage. And if we change the scale of those, we get a zoo. Even though the function has changed from the exhibition of strange animals to a scientific research, zoos are still big cages. We are making animals live in a solid space with unbreakable edges.