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New aviary for ZSL London Zoo receives planning permission

ZSL London Zoo has received approval from Westminster Council on its planning application for the Snowdon Aviary to receive a bold new makeover.

Mace is the project manager for the proposal, and has been working with ZSL (Zoological Society of London) London Zoo, Fosters + Partners and the other members of the project team since July 2016. A team of project managers and cost consultants from Mace have guided the project through the planning process and will now focus on pushing forward to Stage Four design.

The plan is to reinvigorate the north bank of the Zoo and includes a new community education space that will feature exhibits about the animals and the architectural heritage of the structure, a new monkey and an on show exhibition area that will be linked by sky bridges for the colobus monkeys into the Aviary.

The new design adapts the heritage structure to suit its new inhabitants – a troop of colobus monkeys– and offers visitors an enhanced experience. It replicates their natural habitat, with a series of vertical elements at different heights that the colobus monkeys can climb onto, encouraging them to leap, jump, and swing to the higher levels of the aviary. 

A grade II* listed building and one of the Zoo’s most famous structures, the Aviary celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and stands proud and visible from the nearby Regent’s Canal and Primrose Hill.

Inspired by the graceful movements of flying birds, the Snowdon Aviary was truly unique for its time; conceived by Lord Snowdon and realised by architect Cedric Price and structural engineer Frank Newby, the exhibit opened in 1965 and it was Britain’s first walk-through aviary.

In early 2016 international wildlife conservation charity ZSL secured the first stage of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for the initial research and planning phase of modernising the Zoo’s iconic Snowdon Aviary, and to use the new space to interact with new audiences and school children. 

ZSL  Zoological Director, Professor David Field said: 

“We’re delighted that the Council has recognised the value of the restoration of ZSL London Zoo’s Snowdon Aviary, and has granted us planning permission to carry out this exciting work.

“The new exhibit is set to be turned into a walk-through colobus monkey enclosure, which will give visitors a unique and up-close experience of the stunning primates. 

“Our plans for the Aviary will both improve its use as an important habitat for our animals and ensure it serves as an educational hub for the millions of people who visit the Zoo to be inspired by wildlife - while recognising its heritage status and prominent position on the Regent’s Canal.” 

Lynne Tyas, Mace’s Operations Director, said:

“This is such a satisfying project to work on – to be able to help transform such an iconic structure for a new generation of visitors to ZSL London Zoo is a real thrill.

“Delivering a planning consent for such a significant refurbishment of a high profile listed and iconic structure like the Snowdon Aviary is a huge success for the whole project team – and a tribute to the close partnership that we’ve developed.

“Working closely with ZSL and Fosters + Partners, we will now be pushing forward with the next stage of design and beginning to prepare for the contractor tendering process next year.”

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