Youde Aviary, Hong Kong

Youde Aviary, Hong Kong

Youde Aviary, Hong Kong 1991

client Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club

engineer Ove Arup & Partners

landscape architects Wong Tung and Partners

contract value £2.05 million

area 5,000 sq m

Ove Arup & Partners was asked to design the enclosure for a large walk-through aviary in Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong Central. Gail Halvorsen, who was working in Ove Arup’s Lightweight Structure Department at the time (1987), was given a sketch by the Hong Kong aviary designers showing a circus tent type design with masts and asked to develop it. After a few days of pulling fishnet tights over cardboard models, Halvorsen realised that an arched structure would be better suited to the terrain, and give a cheaper solution. This was confirmed using computer modelling.

Aesthetically the arched structure makes more of a contrast with the surrounding skyscrapers and the distant jagged mountain profile, and thereby highlighting them. It also leaves the space inside column free and clear for the existing trees and walkways.

To achieve this four slender arches, made from circular steel sections, span across the valley. The largest arch, with a 560mm diameter, spans 62m and rises 19m above the valley floor. The primary structure of the arches are stabilised by a secondary structure of doubly-curved stainless steel cables. Suspended below the cable net is a 12mm square stainless steel woven wire mesh which forms the enclosure. The different elements are suspended at a distance from each other allowing the three structural elements to be read clearly.

The aviary was completed in 1991.

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