Fundraising to revamp The Snowdon Aviary at London Zoo

PUBLISHED: 16:31 13 March 2019

Foster + Partners model of how the aviary will look Photo © Tom Miller

Foster + Partners model of how the aviary will look Photo © Tom Miller

© Tom Miller

ZSL Fundraising Director James Wren explains why they are restoring a Grade II * listed aviary to house a troupe of colobus monkeys

James Wren Fundraising director at ZSL at the Snowdon AviaryJames Wren Fundraising director at ZSL at the Snowdon Aviary

The best place to see London’s famous skyline is, in my opinion, from the top of our local landmark Primrose Hill.

The horizon is lined with iconic buildings, from the unique 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) to the Walkie Talkie. And from the vantage point at the top of Primrose Hill, you get a fantastic perspective on London Zoo’s own iconic building; the Grade II* listed Snowdon Aviary.

Standing proud since 1962, the Snowdon Aviary was famed for its pioneering use of aluminium and revolutionary structure. 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 ever walk-through aviary.

This London landmark is set to be restored in a remarkable makeover to make it ready for its new residents, a lively troop of colobus monkeys, by 2020.

We are working with renowned architects Foster + Partners - the architects behind the Gherkin and Bloomberg’s European headquarters in the City of London - to rejuvenate this pioneering model of British architecture.

Designed specifically to meet the needs of the arboreal colobus monkeys, the canal-side hang-out will feature tree-top baskets, swaying structures which mimic the movement of branches, and high resting platforms designed with input from ZSL’s experts.

Bringing wildlife and people together in this immersive walkthrough experience, visitors will be able to see the troop from a whole new perspective, and watch as the primates demonstrate their remarkable long coats as they glide through the air ‘flying’ from branch to branch.

The Aviary’s transformation will include the addition of a community and education space for ZSL’s passionate conservationists to inspire and educate thousands more schoolchildren and play a unique role in bridging the growing divide between people and nature.

At ZSL we’re dedicated to finding innovative solutions to tackle the threats facing conservation around the world, and we’re constantly looking to new technology to achieve this. We’re using sound and film to bring the rainforest to London in a way that will be an accessible and immersive experience for all visitors, including those with visual or hearing impairments. We’re looking to partner with a large technology firm to make this possible.

We work collaboratively with organisations to support their corporate responsibility and business goals through projects such as the renovation of the Snowdon Aviary.

The Aviary was placed on the ‘Heritage at risk’ register in 2016 and ZSL has fundraised over £7 million including a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £4.9m and support from individuals and organisations.

To find out how to become a corporate sponsor visit zsl.org.

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