"The architects' intelligent and thoughtful approach both respects and enriches the precinct "
Jury citation, 2012 RAIA NSW Awards


Zoological Parks Board of NSW
Taronga Zoo, Bradleys Head Road, Mosman, New South Wales, Australia
April 2004 - September 2011
Full Architectural Services

35,000m² Site area

3,000m² buildings including carpark


Creating a clear entrance and enjoyable arrival experience into Taronga Zoo with an emphasis on the natural beauty of the site.

Taronga Zoo is an iconic zoological garden in Sydney’s northern city suburb of Mosman. The Upper Entry Precinct project delivers a major entrance and car park for the zoo, which serve to restore the emphasis on the natural beauty of Taronga Zoo’s setting and resolve issues with traffic flow and people movement.

The Upper Entry Precinct is the first stage of the journey through the zoo for most visitors. Previously, visitors had to navigate the vast parking area and ticket queues before being funnelled through a ‘key-hole’ entry gate. The Upper Entry Precinct diffuses these functions into a smoothly orchestrated sequence. The design reinforces the nature of the zoo as a walled garden and allows visitors to experience their entry to the zoo as a promenade through the landscape. It achieves this via the separation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic; creation of a new public space for ticketing and orientation, and the relocation of daily parking to the rear of the site, creating a landscape buffer to be used for overflow parking only on very busy days.

In addition to increased parking and new retail and ticketing areas, project elements include the refurbishment of the heritage Upper Entrance Building and Tram Shed, and the creation of new public spaces, pathways, bridges and canopies. These include the inner plaza, which is an ‘un-ticketed’ space that allows free access into the formerly exclusive zoo domain, and the outer plaza which is a civic lawn that can be shared by the local community.



Taronga Zoo, Bradleys Head Road, Mosman, New South Wales, Australia


PIA Australia Award for Urban Design Small Scale Commendation
RAIA NSW Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design
RAIA Urban Design Award

Brief Elements

  • Car parking for 750 cars
  • Coach parking for 12 vehicles
  • Retail
  • Ticketing
  • Toilet areas
  • Heritage refurbishment of existing buildings
  • Creation of public spaces, pathways, bridges and canopies


  • Contribution to public realm through creation of community plaza space on entry
  • Separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic to open up the centre for the public
  • Design places landscape at the foreground and buildings to the background
  • Car park embedded into the landscape
  • Restoration of existing heritage buildings
  • Design uses landscape and new buildings to define pathways through the site
  • Extensive consultation process involving: Heritage Office of NSW, DIPNR; Mosman Council, Sydney Buses, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority; and Mosman Residents


Electrical, Mechanical, Hydraulic, Fire Engineer, Acoustic and PA
Stephen Grubits & Associates
Johnson Pilton Walker
Landscape Architecture
Parsons Brinckerhoff
Traffic Engineering
Taylor Thomson Whitting
Structural and Civil Engineering
Cost Planner
Robinson Urban Planning
WHP Architects
Access & DDA Connecting
The Property Agency (formerly Feeder)
The Property Agency (formerly Feeder)
CMS Group
Retail Planning Consultant
Model Tech 3D
Model Maker
Godden Mackay Logan
Heritage Consultant