First erected in 1965, the Snowdon Aviary at ZSL London Zoo will receive a much-needed upgrade to ensure the preservation of the iconic structure and provide new educational amenities to visitors.
Plans by Foster + Partners to transform the Snowdon Aviary at ZSL London Zoo have received approval from local authorities. Informed by the movement of birds in flight, the aviary was realised by architect Cedric Price and structural engineer Frank Newby, and opened to the public in 1965. The listed structure was Britain’s first walk-through aviary, providing an experience that brings visitors closer to the birds in their natural habitat.
“The rebirth of the Snowdon Aviary continues our work with historical structures,” explains 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.”
As one of ZSL London Zoo’s most famous structures, the aviary celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and remains visible from the nearby Regent's Canal and Primrose Hill. Foster + Partners’ design adapts the structure to suit its new inhabitants — a troop of colobus monkeys and parrots. Once complete, the primate enclosure will replicate the animals’ natural habitat with a series of vertical elements at different heights that the monkeys can climb onto.
The proposal also features an education and community space for zoo visitors. Hosting up to 30 people, the indoor space will allow school groups to learn more about the monkeys, their habitat and conservation, ZSL’s history and about the architectural legacy of the zoo.
With £2.3 million 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.