Snowdon Aviary Building Renewal News, London Zoo Photos, Architect, English Listed Project Preservation

Snowdon Aviary Restoration, London

Zoological Building in Regent’s Park design by Foster + Partners Architects, south east England, UK

31 July 2021

Location: Regent’s Park, north London, NW1, England, UK

ZSL London Zoo ‘unwraps’ Snowdon Aviary

Renovation of historic London Zoo structure reaches landmark moment

Monkey Valley to open Summer 2022

Snowdon Aviary Restoration London Zoo demeshing

Snowdon Aviary Demeshing photos © ZSL London Zoo

Snowdon Aviary Refurbishment News

Landmark footage shared by ZSL London Zoo shows the historic moment the famous Snowdon Aviary is ‘unwrapped’ – signaling a defining moment in the iconic structure’s restoration journey.

Snowdon Aviary London Zoo demeshing

The dramatic footage shows experts abseiling down the Grade II listed building this morning (Friday 30 July) to carefully peel away the first of 200 mesh panels wrapped around it in 1965 – starting the one-year countdown to its summer 2022 rebirth as a new home for a troop of Eastern black and white colobus monkeys.

To celebrate the renovation project’s milestone, the Zoo also revealed today that the former aviary will be renamed Monkey Valley when it opens next summer – in recognition of its new role as the primate troop’s new home.

Snowdon Aviary London Zoo demeshing

ZSL London Zoo’s Director of Fundraising and Engagement, James Wren said: “It’s incredible to think that this piece of architectural history has now been seen in its present form on the Primrose Hill skyline for the last time.

“Taking down the first 25metre tall panel was no small feat for everyone involved today and it will take  up to a month of further careful work for the remaining panels to be removed.”

Following the sympathetic renovation, which will include the careful replacement of over 3800 sqm of mesh, the famous peaked silhouette of the historic structure will be fully restored to the London skyline, taking the same size and form as the original.

Snowdon Aviary London Zoo demeshing

The new, more flexible mesh replacing the long-standing panels has been chosen with the colobus monkeys’ needs in mind but is also closer to architect Cedric Price’s original vision for the structure; in the 1960s, Price’s plans called for a steel that had both tensile movement and flexibility, which didn’t exist at the time.

“The original rigid steel mesh panels will be replaced with an exciting new – and more flexible – material, which the agile colobus monkeys will easily be able to climb on and jump from,” explained James.

“We’re excited to get to work on this ambitious and sensitive restoration project, which will breathe new life into a truly iconic structure – part of the capital’s history for more than 50 years.”

Colobus monkey at ZSL London Zoo:
Colobus monkey London Zoo
photo © Will Amlott

Thanks to a grant of over £4million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund – alongside assistance from other dedicated ZSL supporters – the newly developed space will allow generations of future visitors and schoolchildren to get even closer to the amazing animals at ZSL London Zoo.

James added: “Monkey Valley will reflect our world-leading expertise in animal care and – thanks to money raised by National Lottery Players – engage millions of future visitors, while restoring the former Aviary’s position on the London skyline.

One of the Zoo’s most recognisable buildings, the Aviary celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, after far surpassing its intended 30-year lifespan.

Inspired by the graceful movements of flying birds, the Snowdon Aviary was truly unique for its time; conceived by Lord Snowdon and realised by architect Cedric Price with structural engineer Frank Newby, it was pioneering in its use of aluminium and tension for support and was Britain’s first walk-through aviary when the exhibit opened in 1965.

Film on YouTube

It is also a rare example of a completed work by Price – a visionary architect who built very little but whose influence on British architecture still resonates today.

The structure’s restoration has been similarly inspired – this time by the elegant movements of the shaggy-tailed primates who will soon call it home; the impressive leaps of the colobus from treetop to treetop have earned the species the nickname ‘high-flying monkeys’.

For more information on Monkey Valley at ZSL London Zoo, head to

Snowdon Aviary London Zoo restoration

London Zoo


ZSL (Zoological Society of London) is an international conservation charity working to create a world where wildlife thrives. From investigating the health threats facing animals to helping people and wildlife live alongside each other, ZSL is committed to bringing wildlife back from the brink of extinction. Our work is realised through our ground-breaking science, our field conservation around the world and engaging millions of people through our two zoos, London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Ensure ZSL’s Zoos remain open

ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos reopened on Monday 12 April after being closed for 14 weeks during the nation’s third lockdown. Both zoos were also closed for an unprecedented 18 weeks in 2020. Reliant on income from ticket sales to care for the animals and fund their global conservation efforts, the enforced closures have put the charity zoos under huge financial pressure.

Vets and zookeepers continue to provide the highest level of care for their animals, working throughout both lockdowns. ZSL, the international conservation charity behind the Zoos, is calling on the public to help ensure they remain open by becoming a member, or donating to ZSL.

Snowdon Aviary London Zoo demeshing Snowdon Aviary London Zoo demeshing

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

Snowdon Aviary in London images / information received 310721

Snowdon Aviary Refurbishment
Design: Foster + Partners
Snowdon Aviary London building structure
photograph © Daniel Sprawson, ZSL
Snowdon Aviary in London renewal design by Foster + Partners Architects

Location: Snowdon Aviary, London NW1 4RY, UK

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Aviary at London Zoo, Regent’s Park, north London
Date built: 1961
Design: Cedric Price with The Earl of Snowdon and Frank Newby
Snowdon Aviary London Zoo
photograph © Adrian Welch
London Zoo Building by architect Cedric Price

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