Endorsed by

2012 National Architecture Awards: Urban Design

Taronga Zoo Upper Entry Precinct by BVN Architecture Urban Design: National Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

A series of critical urban planning decisions has resulted in a cohesive journey into the grounds of Taronga Zoo. The importance of separating car parking space from the buildings has allowed the act of entering the zoo to become acknowledged, as opposed to being overshadowed by the clutter of buses and drop-off points.

The existing Upper Entry building, which features decorative archways, has now taken on the role of entry portal, creating a sense of arrival, theatre and anticipation. Beyond this point, the secondary forecourt is formalized through a series of stepped terraces that surround and exploit a relationship with the existing landscape. This transition zone provides a prelude to the experiences that are about to unfold in the zoo.

A series of elongated timber pavilions directs the visitor towards ticketing, sales and the ticketed entry point. A draped steel canopy partially connects these structures, delicately shadowing the path forward. Upon exiting, a winding timber ramp gently guides the visitor through the landscape towards one last animal enclosure, looping out again into the zoo plaza.

The success of this project is realized through the generosity of the landscaping and the inclusion of public terrain within the grounds of the zoo.


BVN Donovan Hill
Acoustics Arup Sydney
ESD, mechanical, electrical and fire Arup Sydney
Graphic design & signage The Property Agency
Heritage consultant Godden Mackay Logan
Hydraulics Arup Sydney
Landscape architect Johnson Pilton Walker
Managing contractor A W Edwards
Planning Robinson Planning
Structural and civil engineering Taylor Thomson Whitting
Traffic consultant WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff
Site details
Location Mossman,  Sydney,  NSW,  Australia
Category Landscape / urban design
Project Details
Status Built



Published online: 2 Nov 2012
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2012
Images: John Gollings


Architecture Australia, November 2012

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