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Ankarafa Field Station



Bristol Zoological Society







Madagascar is home to nearly 60 species of lemur, all of which are endangered due to deforestation and hunting. In the Ankarafa forest in Northwest Madagascar, three species in particular are on the critical list: the blue-eyed black lemur, the Sahamalaza sportive lemur and the Sambiriano mouse lemur.


The Feilden Foundation is working in collaboration with Bristol Zoological Society, Grant Associates and Buro Happold to improve and expand the Ankarafa Field Station in Madagascar. The self-sufficient camp will provide accommodation and facilities for local and international researchers, guides and a small number of eco-tourists. Working alongside the local community, researches can expand their studies into sustainable uses of natural resources options for reforestation.


The site is located in a particularly remote and challenging area and can only be accessed by boat followed by a two-hour hike from the nearest beach village. During the rainy season the area becomes totally inaccessible. To minimise the amount of material brought to site the primary structure is sourced from the ground. Using win spoil from the foundations, earth is compressed to form an Interlocking Stabilised Soil Block (ISSB). A timber secondary structure then supports a lightweight double skin roof. Covered external walkways help to protect the soil blocks and provide shade to create a comfortable outdoor environment to work, relax, eat and socialise.


The Ankarafa Field Station is designed to have a very small impact on the environment, but a large impact on local communities and international understanding of lemurs and other wildlife in their natural habitat. In creating opportunities and providing a livelihood for the community, increased education provision for children and by increasing the value of the national park to the locals, a future for the indigenous wildlife will be secured.

Buro Happold Infrastructure Engineer Lara Judeh speaks about the innovative civil engineering methods implemented when designing the Ankarafa Field Station including the Interlocking Stabilised Soil Blocks (ISSB) and Tiger Worm toilets.

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