Snow Leopard Enclosure, Welsh Mountain Zoo
D2 Architects

The new snow leopard enclosure at the Welsh Mountain Zoo delivers an enhanced thematic experience for both snow leopards and visitors alike, providing a better, more suitable habitat in which the cat can reside, explore, and interact. It features natural mountainous topography and an artificial rock outcrop with waterfall and pool to provide enrichment to the cats and raised walkways for visitors, offering panoramic views of both the snow leopard enclosure and the surrounding natural beauty of north wales. 
The design offers visitors a heightened experience through which they can learn about and observe the elusive snow leopard. The housing itself reflects a contemporary interpretation of the Himalayan indigenous ‘Hill Style’ temple vernacular and marks the beginning of the Zoo’s Silk Road Development. The ‘Silk Road’ aims to forge conservation and education links with China via the Snow Leopard Breeding Program. The enclosure has been designed to avoid any negative impact on the surrounding area whilst enhancing both the landscape and lives of the animals, offering vantage points via large, glazed viewing screens that frame the Carneddau mountains and the surrounding landscapes of North Wales.
Galvanized Steel is the principle structural material for the project and was chosen for several reasons including, but not limited to: 
-    Durability and corrosion protection in an exposed, coastal environment 
-    Abrasion resistance in high traffic areas and exposure to big cats
-    Low Maintenance benefits and efficient life cycle benefits for the zoo
-    Ease of Construction and time efficient fabrication
-    Cost-effective
-    Suited the contemporary architectural aesthetic

Photographs © Wynne Construction Ltd, Welsh Mountain Zoo, D2 Architects
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