Beard to build £9.2m Bristol Zoo habitat 

Beard has started work on a £9.2m job to create a Central African forest habitat at Bristol Zoo. 

The facilities will include a new gorilla house, crocodile house and a parrot aviary as well as an outdoor space for gorillas featuring a moat – with the gorillas set to enjoy four times more space in their new home. 

The construction will also include a new viewing area and learning space. 

Beard worked with specialist contractors as well as client Bristol Zoological Society during the design process to ensure the new habitat meets exacting requirements for each threatened species. 

This included consideration of water treatment, heating and atmospheric conditions, as well as the planting of non-toxic plants to replicate the forests of Equatorial Guinea. 

Other technical challenges on the job will include managing deliveries to the site as well as “sensitive” root and tree protection orders.

Bristol Zoo will remain open throughout the construction work, which is due to finish in 2025. 

Beard’s Bristol director Matt Cooper said: “It is a real privilege for Beard to be chosen to design and build this unique habitat which will deliver a conservation first in a UK zoo. It is an opportunity for us to showcase more than 130 years of experience in delivering complex and cutting-edge spaces. 

“We are working closely with Bristol Zoological Society, specialist contractors and all stakeholders to ensure this exciting vision and conservation project is fully realised. The society shares our ethos of building with ambition and we look forward to working with them and all parties throughout this one-of-a-kind project.”

Justin Morris, chief executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said: “This is an incredibly exciting moment for us and a significant milestone in our vision to create a modern conservation zoo at Bristol Zoo Project. 

“Central African Forest will see us create a new environment that will not only give our animals the opportunity to live in spaces more closely reflecting their natural habitats, it will also help to raise vital awareness of the threats these precious species are facing around the world.”

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