New restaurant at the old zoo

London Zoo is one of the UK’s best known tourist attractions and the world’s oldest scientific zoo. Opened in 1838, it now houses nearly 20,000 animals representing over 800 species.

Troldtekt, Terrace Restaurant, London Zoo
Photo: Alastair Lever

The zoo recently achieved another record with the opening of one of the UK’s largest day-visitor restaurants. This is the new Terrace Restaurant which has tripled its dining space to provide 700 covers. The aim was to create both a highly functional and high impact space which would add real quality to the visitor experience and be able to cope with up to 10,000 visitors a day. Troldtekt ceilings play a major part in helping to create an exciting and acoustically pleasant environment for this very exceptional number of visitors.

SHH architects and interior designers created the transformation by remodelling and extending the 1920s building as part of a three year, £4.6m (5.84 million euros) project. Itincludes a new tiered extension to the front of the old block - a 6m high, double-height space - with new stairs leading up to a hugely expanded mezzanine level and two expansive terraces, thereby increasing the building’s footprint by almost 1,000 sqm. The overall feel is clean, raw and urban in glass, timber, exposed brick and steelwork columns, with a striking ribbed deck ceiling in the double-height extension.

One of the key considerations for the designers was sound absorption. With such an abundance of hard surfaces in different materials, coupled with echoes and the vocal enthusiasm and chatter from so many visitors, it was important to find a solution which would complement the overall design and create a user-friendly environment. This has been achieved by installing over 400 sqm of Troldtekt ultrafine acoustic panels on the ceilings below the mezzanine floor. The 1200 x 500 x 35mm panels have a natural finish and are supported by a T35 concealed grid system.