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Foster + Partners win approval for Snowdon Aviary overhaul

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Westminster Council has this week approved plans by Foster + Partners’ for a proposed £7 million overhaul of the Snowdon Aviary at London Zoo for approval

The AJ100 top-ranked practice was selected last year to transform the Grade II*-listed building, originally designed by Cedric Price and since added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.

The scheme, billed as the zoo’s ’most ambitious project to date’, will open up the existing structure, allowing it to become a walk-through colobus monkey enclosure, giving visitors an ‘up-close experience of the stunning primates’.

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) director, professor David Field said: “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.’

According to the planning report prepared for the City of Westminster councillors, the proposal had received the support of the St John’s Wood Society and the St Marylebone Society as well as the London Borough of Camden.

Snowdon Aviary, London Zoo by Lord Snowden, Cedric Price and Frank Newby

Snowdon Aviary, London Zoo by Lord Snowden, Cedric Price and Frank Newby

Source: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections

Snowdon Aviary, London Zoo by Lord Snowden, Cedric Price and Frank Newby

However the Regent’s Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee had rasied concerns about the plans ’on a number of detailed grounds including the replacement materials to be used in the renovation, the impact of the collection of new buildings proposed around the aviary on the setting of it and on the listed parks and conservation area, as well as the proposed landscaping details.’

Foster + Partners was selected following a tender process in accordance with Heritage Lottery Fund rules. The scheme secured a £301,000 first stage lottery grant to carry out the initial research and planning phase for modernising the aviary.

The zoological society still needs to raise £2.3 million in match-funding with a view to begin the renovation in January 2018, ready to open in summer 2019. 

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