The Tasmanian Devil Exhibit base building works were carried out within the confines of an existing structure to be retained with some heritage significance and a lot of cultural significance for Taronga Zoo. To ensure the existing building elements remained undisturbed, all structural elements as well as installation methods for all trades were designed and installed in close association with the client and Kane’s subcontractors.
The building was originally constructed in the 1960’s as a quarantine enclosure for carnivores. It has heritage significance as one of the buildings representing the functional style of enclosure. Later adapted to house Jungle cats, some minor works were done to convert this into the prominent structure that was the ‘Big Cats’ home including rendering external walls creating the jungle theme including the large prominent Big Cats signage that has remained as part of the external wall.
The building aim was to transform the existing exhibit into a facility for the Tasmanian Devil to live and breed in, enabling the keepers to feed and transport the animals safely and for the Zoo to provide public education and areas including a pathway for the public to view the Devils in a simulated natural environment. The Exhibit also incorporates a centre for research into the Devil.
The concept behind the exhibit is to see the effect mankind has had on the Tasmanian Devils habitat with one den (1st den) also known as the 'Human Impact Enclosure' incorporating a simulated roadway and other manmade elements illustrating the dangerous and disruptive interaction the Devil has with people, while the second den replicates their natural Tasmanian habitat known as the ‘Natural Habitat Enclosure’. There is a vast contrast between the two which should show the different parts of modern life for the Devils.