Plans move forward to transform iconic Zoo Aviary 

ZSL London Zoo will submit updated Snowdon Aviary plans to Westminster Council this Friday (March 13), revealing exciting new revisions to the historic structure’s planned makeover. 

Snowdon Aviary plans © F+P /ZSL

The updates include innovative and sustainable building concepts that will enable parts of the structure to change over time, adapting to the needs of its new residents - the Zoo’s growing troop of colobus monkeys, who are part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. 

ZSL (Zoological Society of London) has partnered with renowned architects Foster + Partners to rejuvenate the pioneering model of British architecture, due to open in 2021; the new exhibit is set to be transformed into a soaring walk-through enclosure, which will give visitors a unique and up close experience of the stunning primates.

ZSL’s Managing Director of Zoos and Engagement Rich Storton said: “ZSL London Zoo is excited to submit these updated plans for the redesign of the landmark Snowdon Aviary, which reflect our decades of animal expertise and delivering awe-inspiring visitor experiences.

“The makeover has always been an ambitious project, which is only right for such an iconic structure: as planning has progressed and we prepare to break ground later this year, we are refreshing the plans to future-proof the building, so that it can adapt to the changing needs of our colobus troop over time.”

The updated plans focus on the primates’ indoor dens, which feature a new modular design allowing keepers to create quiet private areas as and when needed – for example, for females and their newborns.  

“We’re also seeking to create a new, dedicated community space within the complex, ensuring ZSL London Zoo is at the heart of the community and enabling us to bring people and wildlife even closer together.” 

The space will be used to host educational events, while being a valuable resource for community groups and local residents; the Zoo recently launched its new Community Access Scheme, partnering with organisations who work with local older people, people with additional needs and disabilities, and low income families to provide an affordable opportunity to enjoy a day at ZSL London Zoo.

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, when the exhibit opened in 1965 it was Britain’s first walk-through aviary. 

In 2017 international conservation charity ZSL secured a National Lottery grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for restoration of 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 plans for the innovative structure, which will become an ideal new home for the primates and allow future visitors and school children to get even closer to the amazing animals at ZSL London Zoo. 

Find out more about the Snowdon Aviary project

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