Grant Associates and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios appointed to design new Bristol Zoo site

Bristol Zoological Society has appointed two Bath-based firms - pioneering landscape architects Grant Associates and design practice Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) - to a specialist creative team that will be responsible for delivering its new vision for a world-leading zoo in the South West.

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The Society looks set to develop a new, world-class Bristol Zoo at its Wild Place Project site on the northern edge of Bristol, which aims to set the standard for a modern, forward-looking zoo in the 21st century. Due to open in 2024, the new Bristol Zoo will offer spacious facilities, significant growth in conservation and education work and a ground-breaking, innovative visitor experience.

The plans will be brought to life by an award-winning team of architects, designers, engineers and environmental experts, chosen specifically for their insight and approach into this world-leading project.

Grant Associates, known for the world-famous Gardens by the Bay as well as Bristol Harbourside and the YTL Brabazon project in Filton, Bristol, will help Bristol Zoo to deliver the greatest possible visitor experience, through an ecosystem planning approach, optimising the sense of separation from the wider world through the effective use and enhancement of the existing native species rich landscape, including Ancient Woodland. Grant Associates’ nature-focused approach will look to bring visitors through the animals’ domain using immersive and varied landscapes and habitats to create a memorable adventure throughout the site, with efficient and attractive connections to and from the site.

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Grant Associates have been appointed as lead designers and landscape architects for the new Bristol Zoo. The practice’s ethos aligns closely with the objectives for the new Zoo - through their work, the Bath-based team aims to reconnect people with nature in insightful and distinctive ways while addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction.

The Society has also appointed FCBS, an award-winning practice with an international reputation for design quality, a progressive architectural approach and pioneering environmental expertise with leadership and authority on the design response to the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

They will take the role of lead architects, conservation architects and renewable/zero carbon specialists with responsibility for the building design elements of the scheme, creating buildings with engaging spaces and sensitivity to external surroundings.

With a design portfolio encompassing visitor centres, educational facilities and zoo attraction buildings, the work of FCBS has frequently been recognised in major industry awards, including winning 55 awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Previous work includes the Bath Abbey Footprint Project, the University of Roehampton Library and a number of projects at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Bristol Zoological Society has previously worked with both Grant Associates and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios on the development of a new conservation research centre in Madagascar, where conservationists from the Society work to protect threatened lemurs and their habitats in the wild.

Francesca Fryer, Director of Transformation at Bristol Zoological Society, said:

“The opportunity we have ahead of us of a new Bristol Zoo offers the chance to create something truly spectacular at our Wild Place Project site. In addition to our existing exhibits, such as the hugely popular Bear Wood, Discover Madagascar and Benoue National Park, we will create immersive new exhibits which will link visitors to our conservation projects around the world, develop new veterinary and education facilities and provide the tools for visitors to become conservationists themselves.

“We look forward to the exciting collaboration process both with our award-winning, multi-disciplinary team of designers, the Society’s in-house experts and the wider Bristol community to create a visitor attraction that will be a beacon of conservation and environmental sustainability, demonstrating and promoting how together we can save wildlife in the way we live our lives.”

Andrew Grant, Founder and Director of Grant Associates, said:

“We are honoured to have been given this unique opportunity to help shape the new Bristol Zoo as an inspirational centre for wildlife conservation. The Wild Place site provides a special foundation for this ambitious project and is the perfect setting to better understand our relationship with native and global nature and biodiversity. With care for animals at the heart of the designs we are excited by the prospect of developing a sensitive, ecologically diverse, creative and memorable experience for everyone.”

Peter Clegg, Senior Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, added:

“Our vision for the new zoo is based around landscape, biodiversity and a sustainable future. We are thrilled to be appointed to the project and to continue to develop close relationships with the zoo to further their conservation and research work. We are looking forward to preparing plans that make the most of the existing buildings on site and creating new facilities for the visitors, the staff and most of all, the animals.”

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Momentum structural and civil engineers have also been appointed to the project, having previously worked on the award-winning multi-million-pound redevelopment of Bristol Old Vic and the temporary installation of a performance space in the ruins of the 14th century Temple Church in Bristol’s Castle Park. E3 Consulting Engineers will also join the team, having been selected for their award winning, low-energy engineering designs, which minimise buildings’ impacts on the environment. Their previous work includes the welcome centre at Westonbirt Arboretum, Bath Thermae Spa, Bordeaux Quay, Theatre Royal, Bath, and Bicester Eco Business Centre. Avison Young have been appointed as town planners advisors and will lead the proposals through the planning process, while specialists have been appointed to provide additional expertise including arboriculturists, Wotton Tree Consultancy; ecology consultant Clarkson and Woods; and transport and sustainability infrastructure consultant, Hydrock.

To find out more about how Bristol Zoological Society is safeguarding its future, visit www.bristolzoo.org.uk/our-future.

Notes to editors

For further information, please contact the Bristol Zoological Society press office:

Monday - Thursday - Lucy King, 0117 428 5320 or lking@bristolzoo.org.uk    

Mondays and Tuesdays - Rob Stokes, 0117 428 5320 or rstokes@bristolzoo.org.uk 

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday - Lucy McCormick, 0117 428 5320 lmccormick@bristolzoo.org.uk 

About Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is an architectural and urban design practice with an international reputation for design quality, for pioneering environmental expertise and a progressive architectural approach. The practice started small 40 years ago and continues to be committed to social and humanistic values in their work and is experienced in designing for education, housing, masterplanning and urban design as well as places for art and the creative reuse of historic buildings.

Feilden Clegg was founded in 1978 with a specific ambition to produce environmentally and socially responsive design. This ethos has flourished and developed and FCBStudios continue to be at the forefront of low energy design and masterplanning, and through our knowledge of the performance of the buildings we have designed, provide solutions to support the imperative transition to a zero-carbon economy. This experience, and our skills, underpin our design approach to support clients who are demanding responses in the face of potentially catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss. fcbstudios.com  

About Grant Associates

Grant Associates is a pioneering international landscape architecture practice that reconnects people with nature in insightful, delightful and distinctive ways whilst addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction. The practice’s design process is underpinned by a knowledge of human behaviour, nature and ecological science combined with innovative design technology.

Through original thinking and creative collaboration, Grant Associates explores what regenerative design and the circular economy means to landscape architecture. Founded in 1997, Grant Associates’ varied portfolio includes ambitious large-scale, landmark projects through to small, local ventures. grant-associates.uk.com

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About Grant Associates

Grant Associates is a pioneering international landscape architecture practice. Our work reconnects people with nature in insightful, delightful and distinctive ways whilst addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction.

Our design process is underpinned by a knowledge of human behaviour, nature and ecological science combined with innovative design technology. We bring original thinking, creative collaboration and are exploring what regenerative design and the circular economy means to landscape architecture.

Our varied portfolio includes ambitious large-scale, landmark projects through to small, local ventures.

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