These huge glass biodomes will be used to breed and raise endangered birds like the blackfaced spoonbill.

The mountainous, inland region near the eastern coast of South Korea is so hard to reach that it’s still pristine.

It’s been chosen as the location of the new National Research Center for Endangered Species.

“The form of the bird cage was decided through studies of the spoonbill’s flight paths, which tend to be in circles,” says Kate Kim, a spokesperson for Samoo, the Korean architecture firm that designed the research center.

“The location of the structure on a hillside ensures that enough height is secured for the birds.”

Once birds have adapted to the environment, they’ll be released back into the wild.

2014-03-13

Co.Exist

These Huge Glass Biodomes Will Bring Back Endangered Wildlife

Freshwater tortoises. Fox and lynx. The blackfaced spoonbill and the stumpy bullhead. This amazing research center under construction in South Korea will house species revivals.

Wildlife in South Korea doesn’t really have a lot of room to roam—with a population density that’s more than 10 times the global average (and a staggering 1,478% greater than the United States), there are people pretty much everywhere. But one mountainous, inland region near the eastern coast is so hard to reach that it’s still pristine, and it’s been chosen as the location of the new National Research Center for Endangered Species.

A series of huge glass biodomes will be used to breed and raise endangered birds like the blackfaced spoonbill. "The form of the bird cage was decided through studies of the spoonbill’s flight paths, which tend to be in circles," says Kate Kim, a spokesperson for Samoo, the Korean architecture firm that designed the research center. "The location of the structure on a hillside ensures that enough height is secured for the birds." Once birds have adapted to the environment, they’ll be released back into the wild.

Another group of buildings will be used to breed and study endangered species like the Korean stumpy bullhead—a fish that only lives in South Korea—and the Korean golden frog, an animal that currently lives in places like the Demilitarized Zone on the border of North Korea, one of the few other spots where there aren’t any people. The center will also study and rehabilitate species like the freshwater tortoise, which is threatened in part by illegal sales to places like China for meat, and animals like the fox, lynx, and musk deer, which are threatened most by loss of habitat.

Ironically, the complex will also bring more people to the wilderness, since it includes a center for visitors. But the designers have tried to minimize impacts on the local environment by including as many sustainable features as possible, like solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and building locations chosen to maximize natural lighting and ventilation. It's also designed to blend into the surrounding hills—or at least as much as is possible for giant glass bubbles.

Construction will start this December, and the complex will open in 2016.

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5 Comments

  • Sunho Lee

    the "fact" about Korea's population density is really just a "statistic" and since most people live in pretty tall apartment buildings, and much of the land is too hilly for farming, there is actually a tremendous amount of wild land in South Korea..much of it largely unbroken across as well as up and down the whole country too. this is one of those "truths" that continues to be taken at face value, but it's not true. more focus on the use of efficient apartments in this way should be given.

  • Sunho Lee

    in fact, i think this project is kind of dumb, since it is taking "pristine" land and developing it...if they are domes, why not put them near cities like in places where the land is already disturbed, say from old parking lots, railyards, decommissioned factories, or something? in fact, i'm going to suggest that this is more of a "theme park" to make tourist money than much of anything else...the eastern part of the country is kind of vacationland for Seoulites in the summer already...of course, i hope i'm wrong, but just how many foxes or deer (neither of which are all that rare anyways) are gonna comfortably fit in one of those domes, exactly? not many.

  • Sunho Lee

    and of course foxes eat birds, fish, tortoises, and most likely deer too, at least the baby ones. this project just sounds more and more like a type of zoo to make money and sell un-environmentally-sound hamburgers for 10 bucks and ice cream and crap to kids like they do at places like Sea World. and you can bet your ass there will be some "animal shows" and a gift shop, and parking will be another 15 bucks on a huge new parking lot where there used to be actual wild animals and a bubbling stream. heck this is a great gimmick in a country currently being INUNDATED with guilt inducing images of boney African kids (no Sally Struthers, but you get the picture)...get a family of 4 to drop 200 on a day to save the world by eating hamburgers and exploiting nature. bitter, me, never!

  • Sunho Lee

    heck, while i'm at it, let me mention that America's best buddy in the world (possibly!) never seems to mention the fact that it (Korea) is one of the last countries in the world to eat whale, and yes(!) even dolphin. in fact the city of Ulsan promotes this via it's tourism board, the healthy and delicious whale meat. i'm not kidding. somehow it's flown under the radar of people like Greenpeace, Al Gore, et al. but as long as Samsung and Kia keep pumping out cheap stuff to the West, i'm not holding my breath it's gonna change or Obama or anyone else is gonna call them out on it... hey, i'm not saying it's wrong..it's a cultural thing, but it's just peculiar in the selective way people get excited about Japan and Norway's "outrageous, barbaric slaughter" of the "gentle giants" but not Korea.

  • Sunho Lee

    You know, I think this website is pretty awesome, but this statement here: "Wildlife in South Korea doesn’t really have a lot of room to roam" is such utter, total bullhockey that the writer of this particular article needs to be put on haitus. nearly the whole country is a solid forest, and, outside of the Seoul Metro area, there isn't much. and even inside the biggest cities there is tons of green area. look at a map before you publish such statements, please.