ZSL (the Zoological Society of London) has provided the first glimpse of what London Zoo’s Snowdon Aviary will look like after a dramatic transformation by Foster + Partners.
It’s not every day that an aviary gets an overhaul by a top international firm of architects. Yet ZSL is planning to do exactly that, replacing the birds with monkeys in the process.
The operator of London Zoo has submitted plans to Westminster Council for the aviary transformation. The 52-year-old grade II listed building is one of the zoo’s most famous structures, visible from the nearby Regent’s Canal and Primrose Hill. Inspired by the graceful movements of flying birds, the aviary was 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.
As from 2019, if plans are approved, it will be transformed into a walk-through colobus monkey enclosure, giving visitors a unique and up-close experience of the stunning primates.
ZSL’s zoological director, Professor David Field, says the makeover is the zoo’s most ambitious project to date. “The new aviary will reflect our decades of animal expertise and delivering innovative visitor experiences,” he adds.
In 2016, ZSL secured the a Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards the project but there’s £2.3 million left to find. A range of sponsorship opportunities are therefore being offered by the zoo in order to support the build and run all associated activities.
Images courtesy ZSL/Tom Miller