2012 National Architecture Awards: Urban Design

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Taronga Zoo Upper Entry Precinct by BVN Architecture.

Taronga Zoo Upper Entry Precinct by BVN Architecture. Image: John Gollings

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Taronga Zoo Upper Entry Precinct by BVN Architecture.

Taronga Zoo Upper Entry Precinct by BVN Architecture. Image: John Gollings

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Taronga Zoo Upper Entry Precinct by BVN Architecture.

Taronga Zoo Upper Entry Precinct by BVN Architecture.

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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.


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