ANIMAL welfare and comfortable living spaces were the top priorities of a Thomasian’s architecture thesis which inspired the newly-rehabilitated Manila Zoo.

“I grew up in Manila and the Manila Zoo has become a big part of my childhood where I’ve also shared a couple of great memories there with my family,” architecture alumnus Kevin Siy told the Varsitarian.

“Seeing it fade through time urged me to make it as my thesis project.”

Dubbed the “Bagong Manila Zoo,” the park now boasts of a more sophisticated interior design as well as more comfortable spaces for the animals.

According to Siy, redesigning the homes of the animals was the primary change he wanted to address in his project. 

“The main concept of my proposal is to replicate the habitat of the animals and maximize the space we have so that we can provide a more ideal home for them,” he said. “We don’t want them to feel enclosed all the time so hopefully with the new renovations, the animals can move more freely and enjoy their new homes.”

Among the key concepts of his project include larger enclosures for the animals, viewing tunnels for the crocodiles living underwater, and a bigger pen for Mali, the country’s lone elephant. 

While conceptualizing his thesis, Siy interviewed zoo caretakers, veterinarians, and other staff in a bid to create a “prime tourist spot and center for education” for the general public.

“I wanted the younger generations to enjoy the park with their families as well and to be able to see its full potential,” he said. “I also believe that the animals who live there deserve the best environment because it greatly influences their overall health and welfare.”

The Manila city government collaborated with Jose T. Mañosa & Associates, an architectural design and planning firm, for the rehabilitation of the park. Siy said that about 20 percent of his thesis was realized in the rehab project.

He presented his thesis to the local city government back in 2019 when the park was closed to the public after being tagged as a major pollutant to Manila Bay.

A soft opening of Manila Zoo was held earlier in December. It has since reopened to the public free of admission and limited only to 1,000 visitors per day.


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