We’re excited to share that the Zoo’s café, Te Puna (‘the spring’) has been named one of the winners in the Public Architecture category of the 2021 Auckland Architecture Awards!

Designed by Stevens Lawsons Architects in association with Jack McKinney Architects, Te Puna is our stunning wharekai and function venue (opened in 2020) that overlooks our Zoo lake in the heart of our South East Asia Jungle Track. 

The judges said “Te Puna cafe’s fluid geometries, reminiscent of a coastline studded with sheltered niches, provides various spaces to sit, eat and socialise”…and “the architects’ technical rigour and a focus on environmental performance have made this an oasis of calm at the heart of a zoo that is undergoing a 21st-century transformation”.

If you’ve visited us over the past year, you’ll know this spacious and inviting light-filled space with its curving veranda is a wonderful place to dine and unwind. It’s also the only café in Aotearoa (possibly the world!) where you can sit and watch orangutans and siamangs as they range across aerial pathways that span out from their habitat and over the lake.

Architect Nicholas Stevens says being able to create a building to work within the unique landscape of the Zoo was a major highlight of the project.

“We wanted to create a space that had lightness and transparency – that you could see right through and enter from all different sides. “I love that the building doesn’t have a front or back, and that it bends and curves like little bays along a coastline, and that it feels calm and can be this oasis,” says Stevens. “The clay-brick pod forms (the bathroom facilities and kitchen and servery areas) add the sculptural effect and anchor the building into the space in contrast to lightness and floating feel of the rest of it.”

As a winner in the Auckland Architecture Awards, we’re delighted that Te Puna will also be entered into the 2022 New Zealand Architecture Awards. Watch this space!