Wednesday, February 24, 2010

la grande voliera

The giant bird cage at the Rome conservation zoo


The monumental metal structure of the birdcage was built in 1935 by architect Raffaele de Vico. The geodesic dome employs short struts following the principle of geodesy–the shortest possible line between two points on a sphere or other curved surface–thus forming an open framework of modular triangles made of steel, a very advanced concept at the time.


  1. Wow!
    You even teach Riemannian geometry in your blog now…
    One more reason to read it. :-)

  2. Una serie Mágica y espectacular, me gusta la escala que has utizado, enhorabuena, un saludo.

    José luis

  3. I'm not a lover of zoos, but that's quite a structure.

  4. My how those trees have grown. I always enjoy seeing past and present photos like these.

  5. A fascinating and creative presentation of the dome principals ... nicely illustrated series! I'm particularly fond of the very first image ...

  6. Thank you all for stopping by and taking the time to leave your comments!

    I'm not a lover of zoos and enclosed animal places, but this is truly a different concept of animal park. In my previous post I explain how in the Rome conservation bioparco there are very few cages and "bars." This birdcage dome reflects that same principle. It's huge. Trees grow inside it, sandy, rocky and muddy terrain alternate around the large pond and all sorts of bird-friendly habitat elements. I saw a huge pelican flying from one end to the other, freely.
    Did you spot the graceful stork in #3?

  7. Neat, but they sure aren't taking as good care of it as they did in 1935!

  8. Great post, I appreciated the part explaining the structure.
    65 years later Norman Foster used the same idea for the glass canopy of the Great Court of the British Museum.

  9. Thanks VP, I too was amazed at de Vico's modern ideas.
    Saretta, anything "just inaugurated" is obviously more polished and pristine, but I kinda like the scraggly run down-look. And those 2 cedars of Lebanon have grown so much, that I tend to overlook the chipped paint and revel in that instead.


  10. OH, i love this!!
    the textiles of the chain link fence, fantastico =)

  11. That is just amazing! I have never seen anything like it except something a little similar at Animal Kingdom at DisneyWorld, but I think they used netting. I love birds and I would really enjoy this!

  12. He he, I know.
    The first image I posted thinking of you, Gina. I tried to emulate your wonderful focus play. I knew you'd like the fence shots-
    The third photo and much of this post is with Lois in mind, whom I know is a bird-lover. You should see this place, it's dreamy. I immediately thought of you when we came here a few days ago. I'll post about its inhabitants soon.


  13. Very interesting patterns in the first two photos. The zoo looks very interesting from the outside.


  14. Your first image is brilliant! It's really great. I like the way each succeeding image shows more and more of the bird cage, ending with a before and after shot. Very well done.

  15. It's interesting to see the contrast between 1935 and now.

    Buckminster Fuller was an advocate of the geodesic dome.

  16. This is really a great idea, Ele. Beginning with details and enlarging more and more, with the extra bit of the vintage image. Well done, really bellissimo post!

    Baci da Verona, come stai carissima? Elliot è guarito bene?


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