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    Cox propose stacked pods with green screens and CLT for new Taronga Zoo accommodation

    Nathan Johnson

    Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is set to undergo a major transformation and upgrade of its accommodation facilities.

    A new Taronga Wildlife Retreat (TWR) consisting of 62 rooms within five accommodation pods, together with a new entry pavilion fit with a restaurant and bar are on the cards and subject to approval by NSW planning.

    Designed by Cox Richardson with landscape design by Green and Dale associates, the TWR will be situated adjacent to the existing Taronga Centre function facility and within the Australian experience at the Zoo.

    The proposal is said to be building on the success of the Zoo’s ‘Roar and Snore’ program which provides overnight accommodation and unique wildlife interaction for guests. The major difference is that the new accommodation pods and guest lodge are permanent and will enable the zoo to reach a wider audience, and integrate the immersive experience specifically with Australian wildlife exhibits.

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    The new Guest Lodge, accommodation ‘pods’ and restaurant facilitity

    Cox’s proposal shows a fragmented massing of five pods and one major guest hub which are stacked intermittently down the steep topography and around landscaping breakouts and zoo exhibits.

    Key to the development is the notion of immersion and to minimise the visual impact of the built forms particularly their northern elevations which will be most visible.

    For the five accommodation pods, the architects worked with urban design and landscape architectural practice Turf Design to create a unique northern façade that incorporates native planted ‘green screens’ to minimise their visual impact and integrate them into landscaped environment.

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    The pods will be clad primarily in a reconstituted hardwood timber and incorporate timber and perforated metal blades on south-westerly glazing to minimise heat loads while again breaking down scale and reducing visual impact.

    Cox will also tack on a new restaurant to the existing Taronga Centre which will be feature a sandstone base and a large dose of glazing protected by angled vertical metal blades.

    A sustainability report says the project will incorporate cross-laminated timber, a photovoltaic array and mixed mode ventilation.

    Images: Green Dale & Associates/Cox Richardson

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