The Westminster Council has approved plans for the Foster + Partners-led transformation of the Snowdon Aviary at ZSL London Zoo. Designed by English architect and theorist Cedric Price in collaboration with Frank Newby and Lord Snowdon, the Grade II-listed structure became the first aviary in the UK to allow visitors to walk through a natural bird habitat when it opened to the public in 1962.
The revamp will preserve many of the original design qualities from the original structure, while updating safety and viewing strategies for its new inhabitants: a family of colobus monkeys and parrots. To make the monkeys feel at home, the design features a series of platforms and vertical elements, allowing visitors to learn about the animals as they swing, jump and explore their surroundings.
“The rebirth of the Snowdon Aviary continues our work with historical structures,” said Norman Foster. “It is about the fusion of the old and new, but also about repurposing this extraordinary structure. The brand-new walk-though home will allow it to extend its role for decades to come. It will ensure the preservation of an iconic structure and honour its distinguished authors from the past, while preserving a unique built example of Cedric Price’s work.”
The project also features a new educational center that will give groups of up to 30 people the chance to learn more about the animals and the architectural history of the Zoo.
“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,” said Professor David Field, Zoological Director. “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.”
The project is estimated to cost a total of £2.5 million. Renovations are hoped to begin in January 2018 with a grand reopening in summer 2019.