Ankarafa Research Station
Visual for the Ankarafa Madagascar lemur research station for Bristol Zoo

Madagascar is home to 112 species of lemurs, over 95% of which are threatened with extinction, primarily due to deforestation and hunting. In the Ankarafa forest in Northwest Madagascar, five species of lemur are found, all of which are threatened, including two which are Critically Endangered: the blue-eyed black lemur, and the Sahamalaza sportive lemur.

In a collaboration with Buro Happold and Grant Associates, our Feilden Foundation is working to improve and extend an existing Bristol Zoological Society and AEECL research station in the Sahamalaza forest. Used by both Malagasy and international conservation scientists, it will enable them to understand more about and help protect the resident lemurs and their surrounding natural environment.

The station provides accommodation and facilities for local and international researchers, guides and a small number of eco-tourists. It is a valuable base for local and international researchers to conduct new research; work with local communities to investigate the sustainable use of natural resources, and explore options for reforestation.

Key Information

Sector: Science & Innovation, International, Charity, Regenerative Design & Sustainability

Client: Bristol Zoological Society

Location: Madagascar

Completion: 2024

Size: 130 sqm NIA

A visionary project that can help to conserve the lemurs and their forest habitat as well as helping the madagascan people.

Sir David Attenborough, speaking at an event at FCBStudios 


Ankarafa Field Station is designed to have a very small impact on the environment, but a large impact on local communities and international understanding of lemurs and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

In creating opportunities and providing a livelihood for the community, increased education provision for children and by increasing the value of the national park to the locals, a future for indigenous wildlife will be secured.

Using only what is to hand

The station is a two hour hike through the rainforest from an isolated beach village, which makes bringing construction materials to site challenging. Instead, materials must be sourced from within the site boundary where possible, using traditional plant based and natural building materials. Win spoil from the foundations has been used to make Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks for the wall construction and a timber secondary structure forms a support for the palm leaf roof covering.

Covered external walkways help to protect the soil blocks and provide shade to create a comfortable outdoor environment to work, relax, eat and socialise.

Pressing the first ISSB


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Buro Happold
Landscape Architect
Grant Associates

FCBStudios Team Leads