The Darwineum

The Darwineum


With 20,000 square meters the Darwineum is the hitherto largest expansion building of the Zoologischer Garten in Rostock.

Soon the visitors of the Darwineum in the Northern German Hanseatic city of Rostock can make a journey through 500 million years of human evolution. Peter Rasbach, managing director of Rasbach Architekten and acknowledged zoo architect, has designed the facility. He has already built for many well-known zoos such as Leipzig, Dortmund, Duisburg, Frankfurt, cologne as well as for Loro Park in Tenerife. The Darwineumis the result of the cooperation between Rostock Zoologischer Garten and the Senckenbergmuseum in Frankfurt / Main along with Rostock university.

The focus of the planning period was meeting the EU standards for species-appropriate husbandry of apes. The living units used so far are already 40 years old and way too small. This was the reason for the “Schaffen für Affen” (working for apes) donation campaign in 2003. After many years of planning and a donation marathon the construction period was launched on June 8, 2011.  The costs for the large-scale project are calculated with 28 million Euro, the facility is scheduled to be opened in September 2012.

Darwi … what?

The new facility is being built as an expansion building on the old firing range next to the zoo. Here, “history, man and beast” are supposed to live under one roof, says zoo director Udo Nagel. Spread on an area of 20,000 square meters, the visitor will be shown, all based on Darwin’s theory of evolution, the evolution of our earth along with the cultural evolution of man. This way visitors will be able to watch , for instance, how the miracle “man” has evolved from a protozoan.

The journey through evolution takes you through three large exhibition sections and an outdoor facility with more than 40 vertebrates and 100 other species. In front of the main entrance already on the building’s Eastern side the voyage through time starts on the forecourt, looking like a lava landscape symbolizing the Big Bang.

Through a generous lobby you reach exhibition area A. A 1,300 square meter large rotunda contains theme boxes, taking the visitor back a billion years to the origins of life.

Along a path reminding of the shape of a DNA double helix, the visitor gets into exhibition area B, the tropics hall. The hall, which will be about 4,000 square meters large, is the new home for the apes and the core of the facility. There is no firm floor panel so the gorillas and orang-utans will be able to move on natural soil inside. The visitors will be able to get very close to the orang-utans via wound paths.

Via the path you get to exhibition area C, the research lab. Here, the visitors have the possibility of carrying out experiments themselves and to discover the potentials of modern research methods. Right next to exhibition area C a lecture room is planned, a catering area with indoor and outdoor area as well as a shop.


Architect: Rasbach Architekten
Status: Opening: September 2012
Size: 20,000 qm
Companies involved in the project:
VEDAG, specialist for flat roof sealings, has been fulfilling these desires for over 165 years now and is thus one of Germany's industrial enterprises with the richest tradition. Apart from that, with a capacity of more than 50 mio. m², the company is among Europe's biggest manufacturers of sealing products made of bitumen and polymer bitumen and supplier of artificial roof sheetings.

Product class: Flat roof
Manufacturer: VEDAG
Contact: [email protected]


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valyspin's picture
valyspin 12. December 2014 - 13:54

Indeed it is an impressive building. Today you don't see so many huge and strong constructions. But, all the constructors should know the secret behind this building: metal panels, like these Discount Metal panels Sacramento which are often used in the Sacramento area. Therefore, if you have to build a roof or a metal siding, you should choose only quality metal panels.

prabirbanik82's picture
prabirbanik82 19. December 2014 - 12:15

The place looks simply breathtaking, people would simply love to be here and learn about the evolution. But they need to make this place more intriguing by making proper lighting arrangements, they could hire Robert Huff Landscape Illumination for this purpose, they are also available at

jessymiller744's picture
jessymiller744 22. December 2014 - 20:59

A project so complex must have took a while to complete, but the result is amazing. The place is perfect for a zoo, however the trees around it must be trimmed at least once a year. This is a rule that most homeowners manage to respect by using residential tree removal High Prairie, only after that, the trees will pose no risks for their properties.

valyspin's picture
valyspin 22. December 2014 - 22:36

This is an amazing work, anyone will be fascinating to make a journey through 500 million years of human evolution in this large building. But before the owner opens it to the public, he should install a few powerful video surveillance systems from through the whole building. These assets must be well protected!

billmarket17's picture
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Although the interior looks wonderful and it is an attraction for anyone interested in our evolutionary process, the exterior of this building should also be arranged in a modern and appealing manner. The professional landscape team from can do wonders in a short period of time. Visit their website to see their work.

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