Twycross Zoo

Construction value:


Design team:


Twycross Zoo


Alan Newton Associates

Main Contractor: 

Kier Marriott

M & E Contractor: 

Briggs & Forrester Special Projects

M & E Consultant: 

Building Services Design

A new visitor centre for a world-leading zoo



Founded in 1963, Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire is a world-renowned primate centre with a wide variety of monkeys and apes, including the UK’s only group of bonobos. In order to maintain and enhance its position as a leading attraction, the zoo planned to build a new visitor centre incorporating a shop, restaurant, banqueting/conference facility and staff area. In addition, the new Himalaya Centre would house two new animal enclosures viewable only from inside the building: an enclosure for a pair of snow leopards which are native to the Himalayas but now critically endangered; and an enclosure for a selection of threatened and endangered waterfowl.



In line with the zoo’s worldwide reputation for conservation, the construction targeted a high element of sustainability and a BREEAM Excellent rating. The building required a sophisticated heating and cooling solution, and this was particularly important for the snow leopard enclosure.



To comply with the stringent sustainability and Building Regulations Part L2A requirements, a ground source heat pump system provides both heating and cooling for the building. A high spec ventilation and cooling system caters for approximately 600 visitors.



  • Snow leopard pens fitted with underfloor heating
  • A large ventilation AHU plant with variable speed control delivers heated or cooled air through an aesthetically designed fabric-ducted air system (‘sock’ system)
  • Energy efficient lighting throughout, with presence detection control in toilets and other low-traffic areas



The Himalaya Centre successfully achieved its BREEAM Excellent rating and is now providing visitors with a high quality experience, reflecting the zoo’s standing as a globally important conservation centre.