In 2005, Twycross Zoo began to develop its vision for the future. A needs assessment highlighted the importance of a new visitor entrance. The aim of this project was to provide an innovative visitor experience that combines a state of the art animal facility with an inspirational gateway to the Zoo.
After 24 months in the design phase and 12 months in build, Himalaya was finished in 2010. This is the most innovative building that Twycross Zoo has ever constructed. It combines three animal exhibits, retail and food and beverage space, a tourist information centre, a function/conferencing facility, gallery and toilets.
In addition to innovative design the building has excellent environmental credentials. The management of the building uses sustainable features adding to the educational visitor experience. It is designed to blend into the natural landscape with sloping green banks, sedum roof and wildflower earth bank. The animal exhibits developed as part of the building were designed to provide naturalistic habitats that will encourage natural behaviours and blend in with the visitor‐themed areas. Careful consideration was given to the design of all aspects, including back‐of‐house areas, to ensure a high standard of animal care can be maintained at all times.
Overall Himalaya has delivered on all of its goals. It has improved visitor perception of the whole site, has provided animal facilities enabling the birth of two snow leopard cubs (Panthera uncia) in the first year and delivered a building that is environmentally sound in both construction and remaining lifecycle.
WINNER of BIAZA Award 2011 for Best New Zoo Enclosure