Bristol Zoological Society
Madagascar is home to nearly 60 species of lemurs, all of which are endangered due to deforestation and hunting. In the Ankarafa forest in Northwest Madagascar, three species in particular are on the critical list: the blue-eyed black lemur, the Sahamalaza sportive lemur and the Sambiriano mouse lemur.
The Richard Feilden Foundation is working in collaboration with Bristol Zoological Society, Grant Associates and Buro Happold to improve and expand the Ankarafa Field Station. The station provides accommodation and facilities for local and international researchers, guides and a small number of eco-tourists and is a valuable base for local and international researchers to conduct new research; work with local communities to investigate sustainable use of natural resources, and explore options for reforestation.
The existing centre is a two hour hike from the beach village, and due to the site’s isolated position in the forest, the primary construction materials must be sourced from within the site boundary.
Traditional plant based building materials will be used in the construction of the station. Win spoil from the foundations will be used to make Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks for the wall construction. A timber secondary structure forms a support for a 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.
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 the indigenous wildlife will be secured.
Read more in project architect, Michael Lewis' Explore article: 'Eye to eye with Madagascar's lemurs'