In World War Two the Nazis took to building massively re-inforced ‘Flakturm’ vertical bunkers in the sky as anti-aircraft citadals to protect their premier cities – including Vienna. With walls feet thick it would have taken a series of direct hits to dent them. Wien got four of them. They are imposing brutalist sheer concrete cliffs with balconied walkways close to the summit for anti-aircraft batteries.
Now an imaginative reversal has turned one of them into a zoo and aquarium – complete with hanging jungle gardens with monkeys roaming around. It’s a private enterprise and not perfectly achieved but nevertheless it’s still a feat to have sharks and huge turtles swimming around massive tanks encased in a bunker in the sky.
if it had been a school trip I would have said that my favourite creatures were:
– the seahorses– because of their heartstopping delicacy and transparency in the way they do everything – the way they breathe, the way they move, the way they eat, even the way they excrete. And because they pairbond for life. They meet first thing in the morning to reinforce their pair bonding with an elaborate courtship display. The female meets the male in his territory and as they approach each other they change colour. The male circles around the female the pair often spiral around an object. This display can last for up to an hour. Once over, the female goes back to her territory
– the red ants – because they were escaping from one of the plastic tubes that ran around one of the galleries to exhibit their complicated, intricate world. That’s the way it starts with the ants escaping…
– the turtles – because they are stoic little dinosaurs that still exist
– and the jellyfish – because they look like an animation
Picture of the bunker during WWII
Thickness of the walls
View from the balcony