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A SHELTER CLAD WITH PANELS OF WOVEN EUCALYPTUS AND THATCH

WORKING DETAILS - LION ENCLOSURE, WHIPSNADE ZOO

The shelter is a lightweight enclosure with a laminated glass wall on the south side through which visitors can watch the lions. It is a timber structure of treated softwood trusses resting on peeled Douglas fi r posts.

The external cladding to the north wall - panels of woven eucalyptus laths and fire-retardant reed thatch - was prefabricated in Africa.

The panels mask an inner surface of triple-wall polycarbonate which, with an aluminium-sheet roof, protects visitors from wind and rain and reduces reflections on the glass wall. The eucalyptus panels are woven with three horizontal laths; the rough, open texture gives a rustic feel and creates dappled light and shade. They are fixed in rows, with every other panel at a slightly higher level.

The two outer horizontal laths of each eucalyptus panel are drilled with 15mm-diameter holes. Directly below each lath is a 75mm-diameter peeled softwood post which is slotted and fixed to 75 x 50mm steel brackets; these are fixed to the polycarbonate. Each post is drilled with a 15mm-diameter hole and a steel threaded rod is set into it. The laths are lowered onto the threaded rod and the height adjusted with curved washers and nuts. A second layer of adjacent panels and their 75mm diameter posts is also slotted onto the same rods.

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