Plans approved for transformation of iconic Zoo Aviary

Snowdon Aviary plans © F+P /ZSL

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

ZSL has partnered with renowned architects Foster + Partners to rejuvenate the pioneering model of British architecture. The plans, now approved by the Zoo’s local council, will transform the exhibit into a walk-through primate enclosure, allowing visitors and schoolchildren to get even closer to the amazing animals at ZSL London Zoo.

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.”

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 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 has used this support from National Lottery players to develop the new plans for the innovative structure.

With £2.3million left to raise for the project, ZSL is currently offering a range of sponsorship opportunities for those who would like to support the build and running costs of all associated activities for five years. To donate and keep up-to-date with the project, visit

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