The Snowdon Aviary at ZSL London Zoo is receiving a makeover that will turn it into a walk-through primate enclosure.
London Zoo, run by international wildlife conservation charity Zoological Society of London (ZSL), received a second-stage grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the project in late September. The refurbishment is set to begin in January 2018 for a summer 2019 opening.
Future visitors will come face to face with Black and White colobus monkeys, renowned for their ability to vault from one branch to another. The enclosure will also be home to other species such as parrots and forest antelopes.
Zoological Director David Field said: “Visitors to the Zoo will be walking among the colobus monkeys, enabling a uniquely ‘up-close and personal’ experience of the spectacular primates.
“Our plans include creating an important habitat for our animals, as well as providing an educational hub for the millions of people who visit the Zoo to be inspired by wildlife.”
Designed by Lord Snowdon and Cedric Price, the Aviary opened in 1965 as part of an expansion of the Zoo. As the first walk-through enclosure in Britain, it was exceptional for its time and quickly became one of the Zoo’s most famous exhibits.
Its uniqueness was officially recognized in 1998 when it listed as a Grade II* building, a title bestowed on significantly important sites.
However, the iconic aluminium and steel structure was in urgent need of restorations. Last year, it was included in Historic England’s At Risk Register, a programme that identifies the country’s historic sites that most risk to be lost through neglect or decay.
ZSL has partnered with architects Foster + Partners to renew this pioneering enclosure. The works will save the Aviary from the list and ensure it will remain a defining feature of the area’s skyline for generations to come.
ZSL Fundraising Director James Wren said: “Nearing our 200th anniversary, ZSL London Zoo is an iconic location in our capital city, steeped in cultural history and brimming with wonderful architecture.
“The Snowdon Aviary was Britain’s first-ever walk-though aviary, and has stood proudly along the bank of the Regents Canal for more than 50 years, allowing our visitors to explore the habitat of the birds and admire them in a free-flying space.”