Bristol Zoo Wild Place Project, Southwest England Landscape Design, Zoological Society

Bristol Zoo, Wild Place Project

16 July 2021

Design: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios / Grant Associates

Grant Associates and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios appointed to design new Bristol Zoo site

Address: Wild Place Project, Blackhorse Hill, Bristol, BS10 7TP, England, UK

Albie the brown bear at Bear Wood, Wild Place Project:
Albie the brown bear at Bear Wood, Wild Place Project

New Bristol Zoo in Southwest England

16th of July 2021 – Bristol Zoological Society has appointed two Bath-based firms – pioneering landscape architects Grant Associates and design practice Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) – to a specialist creative team that will be responsible for delivering its new vision for a world-leading zoo in the Southwest.

The Society looks set to develop a new, world-class Bristol Zoo at its Wild Place Project site on the northern edge of Bristol, which aims to set the standard for a modern, forward-looking zoo in the 21st century. Due to open in 2024, the new Bristol Zoo will offer spacious facilities, significant growth in conservation and education work and a ground-breaking, innovative visitor experience.

The plans will be brought to life by an award-winning team of architects, designers, engineers and environmental experts, chosen specifically for their insight and approach into this world-leading project.

Grant Associates, known for the world-famous Gardens by the Bay as well as Bristol Harbourside and the YTL Brabazon project in Filton, Bristol, will help Bristol Zoo to deliver the greatest possible visitor experience, through an ecosystem planning approach, optimising the sense of separation from the wider world through the effective use and enhancement of the existing native species rich landscape, including Ancient Woodland. Grant Associates’ nature-focused approach will look to bring visitors through the animals’ domain using immersive and varied landscapes and habitats to create a memorable adventure throughout the site, with efficient and attractive connections to and from the site.

JJ-Giraffe, Bristol Zoo, south west England:
JJ-Giraffe, Bristol Zoo, south west England

Grant Associates have been appointed as lead designers and landscape architects for the new Bristol Zoo. The practice’s ethos aligns closely with the objectives for the new Zoo – through their work, the Bath-based team aims to reconnect people with nature in insightful and distinctive ways while addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction.

The Society has also appointed FCBS, an award-winning practice with an international reputation for design quality, a progressive architectural approach and pioneering environmental expertise with leadership and authority on the design response to the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

They will take the role of lead architects, conservation architects and renewable/zero carbon specialists with responsibility for the building design elements of the scheme, creating buildings with engaging spaces and sensitivity to external surroundings.

With a design portfolio encompassing visitor centres, educational facilities and zoo attraction buildings, the work of FCBS has frequently been recognised in major industry awards, including winning 55 awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Previous work includes the Bath Abbey Footprint Project, the University of Roehampton Library and a number of projects at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Bristol Zoological Society has previously worked with both Grant Associates and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios on the development of a new conservation research centre in Madagascar, where conservationists from the Society work to protect threatened lemurs and their habitats in the wild.

A ring-tailed lemur, an endangered species, at Bristol Zoo:
ring-tailed lemur, an endangered species, at Bristol Zoo
photo : Andre Pattenden

Francesca Fryer, Director of Transformation at Bristol Zoological Society, said:

“The opportunity we have ahead of us of a new Bristol Zoo offers the chance to create something truly spectacular at our Wild Place Project site. In addition to our existing exhibits, such as the hugely popular Bear Wood, Discover Madagascar and Benoue National Park, we will create immersive new exhibits which will link visitors to our conservation projects around the world, develop new veterinary and education facilities and provide the tools for visitors to become conservationists themselves.

“We look forward to the exciting collaboration process both with our award-winning, multi-disciplinary team of designers, the Society’s in-house experts and the wider Bristol community to create a visitor attraction that will be a beacon of conservation and environmental sustainability, demonstrating and promoting how together we can save wildlife in the way we live our lives.”

Andrew Grant, Grant Associates:
Andrew Grant, Grant Associates

Andrew Grant, Founder and Director of Grant Associates, said:

“We are honoured to have been given this unique opportunity to help shape the new Bristol Zoo as an inspirational centre for wildlife conservation. The Wild Place site provides a special foundation for this ambitious project and is the perfect setting to better understand our relationship with native and global nature and biodiversity. With care for animals at the heart of the designs we are excited by the prospect of developing a sensitive, ecologically diverse, creative and memorable experience for everyone.”

Peter Clegg, Senior Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, added:

“Our vision for the new zoo is based around landscape, biodiversity and a sustainable future. We are thrilled to be appointed to the project and to continue to develop close relationships with the zoo to further their conservation and research work. We are looking forward to preparing plans that make the most of the existing buildings on site and creating new facilities for the visitors, the staff and most of all, the animals.”

Bristol Zoo Gardens’ youngest gorilla Juni:
Bristol Zoo Gardens' youngest gorilla Juni

Momentum structural and civil engineers have also been appointed to the project, having previously worked on the award-winning multi-million-pound redevelopment of Bristol Old Vic and the temporary installation of a performance space in the ruins of the 14th century Temple Church in Bristol’s Castle Park. E3 Consulting Engineers will also join the team, having been selected for their award-winning, low-energy engineering designs, which minimise buildings’ impacts on the environment.

Their previous work includes the welcome centre at Westonbirt Arboretum, Bath Thermae Spa, Bordeaux Quay, Theatre Royal, Bath, and Bicester Eco Business Centre. Avison Young have been appointed as town planners advisors and will lead the proposals through the planning process, while specialists have been appointed to provide additional expertise including arboriculturists, Wotton Tree Consultancy; ecology consultant Clarkson and Woods; and transport and sustainability infrastructure consultant, Hydrock.

To find out more about how Bristol Zoological Society is safeguarding its future, visit

Grant Associates / Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Zoo building designs

Bristol Zoo, Wild Place Project landscape images / information from Grant Associates

Directions: located just off junction 17 of the M5 motorway in South Gloucestershire, near the Cribbs Causeway shopping centre (our entrance is opposite Bristol Golf Club on the B4055).

Location: Wild Place Project, Blackhorse Hill, Bristol, BS10 7TP, south west England, United Kingdom

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