New Tao Garden at Hellabrunn Zoo
On Wednesday, 27 July 2016, Hellabrunn opened an Asian restaurant at the zoo. The new concession stand, designed in a traditional Far Eastern architectural style, was erected on the site of the former Lion restaurant. The landscape around the new Asian eaterie, which includes the area between the nearby lion, elephant and tortoise outdoor enclosures has also been redesigned to incorporate Asian elements.
Known as the Tao Garden, the new Far Eastern concession features a rooftop terrace with stunning views as well as a new outdoor enclosure for the Aldabra giant tortoises. The restaurant is designed in a traditional Asian tea house style by the architectural firm Thomsen & Fried. The architects decided to build a pavilion modelled on an Asian tea house. The traditional design had to be adapted to suit the Munich climate and to make the building suitable for preparing and serving food. Therefore instead of the traditional paper walls, the walls were built with high-pressure laminate panels, and patterned concrete was used for the flooring instead of clay. "The building represents a design statement on what we are able to achieve with local modern materials," explains architect Magda Thomsen. Other construction materials such as wood, natural stone, wood shingles and copper roof gutters with dragon heads were used much in the same way as with traditional Asian tea houses. During the planning phase, the architect paid special attention to the historic layout of the nearby enclosures and the existing trees, whose preservation was given top priority. Construction work on the Tao Garden began on 27.1.2016 and was completed just six months later.
The Far Eastern eaterie on the site of the former Lion restaurant will be operated by the company Able Gastronomie. The restaurant will serve a range of Asian noodle dishes alongside classic regional delicacies. The menu will also include coffee and cake, offering visitors a great place to stop for a welcome break in the afternoon or to enjoy a quick snack. "I am delighted with the harmonious ambience of my new restaurant. The architecture of the building and the design of the garden complement each other and take you on a short trip to Asia," says Siegfried Able, praising the result of six months of construction work. The Tao Garden has a total seating capacity of 200. In addition to the roofed, family-friendly pavilion, there is also a beer garden with matching wooden benches and a roof terrace with stunning views that invite you to linger awhile. From the terrace, visitors can see the pandas, elephants, lions and tortoises.
"This project is not just a replacement concession for the former restaurant, but an Asian landscape project covering an area of 1,400 m²," says zoo director Rasem Baban. For example, large Guadua bamboo tubes were used to bedeck the entrances of the Tortoise House and the outer façade was decorated with 60 m² of malacca trim. The outer enclosure of the Aldabra giant tortoises is fenced with hand-braided malacca cane fences. The zoo's gardener also incorporated a variety of Asian plants in the design of the Tao Garden. A total of 1,700 plants and shrubs were placed on the roof terrace and inside the Tao Garden.