The new visitor centre at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo was unveiled on Saturday. The striking timber structure will dramatically enhance the visitor experience at the UKs largest zoo. The building design focuses on creating a light, open and permeable space, creating transparency to the Zoo beyond; increasing the excitement and providing seamless entry for the Zoos visitors.
Sustainability has been an important design parameter in the development of the new visitor centre. The glulaminated timber frame is sustainably sourced FSC accredited Norwegian Spruce grade GL24 and nestles perfectly into its natural context. A high performance glazing system with integrated doors and opening windows assists natural ventilation and maximises natural daylight. Additionally, the curved roofing system, synonymous with Fordingbridge design, uses highly insulated composite panels thus reducing the need for energy consumption.
Stephen Toone, Managing Director of Fordingbridge PLC, has said We are very proud to have delivered the new visitor centre for ZSL Whipsnade Zoo on our 50th Anniversary. We have designed a building that not only enhances the experience for visitors to the Zoo, but one that has minimal impact on the environment through its natural properties and use of sustainable technologies. The external canopy design ensures a good indoor climate and a comfortable outdoor experience for visitors. The canopys composite membrane fabric protects the building from overheating while also providing an external weatherproof environment.
Owen Craft, General Manager of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, said "We cant wait for first-time visitors and regular members to experience the stunning new visitor centre. The building has been designed to be ultra-sustainable, gaining an A-rating for energy efficiency and becoming a hub for its own recycling projects such as turning used plastic drinks bottles into new benches for the Zoo. Whether its finding a beautiful gift for a loved one or just enjoying a delicious coffee before the drive home, I think the visitor centre will bookend a day at the Zoo in a lovely way and make the experience absolutely first rate.
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