Sumatran Orang-utans are critically endangered and are facing extinction in the wild. Perth Zoo is regarded as a world leader in captive breeding of the Sumatran Orang-utan with 29 born at the Zoo since 1970.

In 1999 by iredale pedersen hook architects commenced designs for the new Orang-utan exhibit, prototyped, constructed and reassessed the designs in conjunction with the Perth Zoo's primate team.

The Perth Zoo aims to provide visitors with the opportunity to encounter the natural world and to become involved in conservation action.

Their vision is for a world where diversity of species and habitats is secure.

Their purpose as an organisation is to inspire and act for wildlife conservation.

This project was executed under these strong values of habitat and biodiversity conservation which informed all aspects of the design, from the detailed industrial design and performance of the animal habitats to the longevity and maintenance costs of the facility.


  • Durable Steel mast poles support adjustable branches and rope "vines" and sway like small trees
  • 12m tall recycled concrete pole supports nesting platforms and shading devices from recycled timber
  • Nesting platforms also support drinking points, water canons, cordial and jam dip tubes, the Orangutans
  • Re-fitting and re-use of the existing 1970s building
  • All steel is galvanised
  • Main poles are from recycled pre-stressed reinforced concrete
  • Timber within the exhibit is from recycled Jarrah
  • Modwood boardwalk
  • No rainforest products used
  • Ropes donated de-commissioned naval ropes
  • Waste flow is controlled by the Zoo's waste management staff
  • Gas fired heating system replaced with a reverse cycle VRV system, partially powered from the Zoo's Solar Electrical Array.