The old Bird House was constructed like a Russian style cathedral.
In the house the visitors could wonder about an impressive diversity of exotic birds, also featuring the Greater Bird-of-paradise.
In the Second World War the old Bird House was almost completely destroyed. Only the roof construction and the four towers stayed conserved. But reconstruction was going fast and in 1952 the house was reopened as bird house again.
The guidebook “Baedecker” praised the new house as the largest collection of birds in Germany. Amongst many other bird species, macaws, toucans, sunbittern and also condors were presented. In 1954 two chimpanzees moved into the house. In the following years further great apes were brought in and stayed until they were moved to the Urwaldhaus (Great Ape House) in 1985.
After removal of the great apes to the Great Ape House in 1985 only South American primates came into the house: Callitrichids, Goeldi’s monkeys, saki monkeys, uakaris as well as spider monkeys and howler monkeys. In the centre of the hall a planted area was established. The primates could walk through wire gangways between the different enclosures on the perimeter of the house.
The house meanwhile was in a state of disrepair and only could be partly used for keeping animals. In April 2019, the renovation started. The basic structure of the building was removed. Only the four towers and the roof construction could be conserved. The new concrete parts were reconstructed according to the historical templates.
The floor plane was removed and replaced by a stilted walkway. Some live trees are growing out from the cellar and the visitor walk through the canopy of the forest. In this way visitors can experience the different storeys of the South American rainforest. The house was named in honor of zoo patrons Arnulf and Elizabeth Reichert.
The reconstruction as a historical monument was realized with the support of NRW Stiftung, the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz and the city of Cologne.