Terrace Restaurant at London Zoo
Tuesday 17 Sep 2013


Architects and designers SHH have transformed ZSL London Zoo’s main restaurant (The Terrace Restaurant), by remodelling and extending the 1920s building as part of a three-year, £4.6m project.

The restaurant’s capacity has nearly tripled as a result, from 240 to 700 covers (making it one of the UK’s largest day-visitor restaurants), whilst the building’s footprint has also increased by almost 1,000 sq m, to include two expansive terraces and a hugely-increased mezzanine floor area.

The overall feel of the newly-remodelled building is clean, raw and urban in glass, timber, exposed brick and steelwork columns, with a striking ribbed deck ceiling in the double-height extension. 

Steel-framed, cantilevered stairs with glass balustrades for an open feel lead up from both sides of the ground floor to the extensive mezzanine seating area and the terrace beyond. The interior of the front extension features a variety of loose and fixed tables and seating, from oak tables with bar-stool height chairs in vibrant orange to white smaller tables with black and white seating, plus curved ‘S’ shape modular seating, offering ease of access and informal arrangement for families with small children or pushchairs. A smaller area to the left of the ground floor, within the wing section, can be segregated off as needed for meetings or private events, via large sliding partition screens. Flooring is a Solus Ceramic grey ceramic floor tile at ground level with Forbo linoleum for the mezzanine.

The kiosk ith a barista coffee bar and bakery product offer is clad in Parklex and folds upwards on opening to create a canopy (specially-created for the project by a company that usually makes doors for aircraft hangars). All service stations for the food servery area were created by Design Front, who also created the logo and signage for The Terrace Restaurant at the front of the building. 

In every direction, visual interest is piqued by different building levels, with drama added by the exposed brickwork arches, exposed steelwork columns and huge-scale Artemide light fittings which are hung in two rows over the double-height spaces.

Furniture in the hire-out Prince Albert suite is in wood and is slightly more traditional than on the balcony below, to marry with the existing Prince Albert Suite look and feel. The new terrace has a composite floor structure, made from a corrugated steel metal tray filled with concrete, which was then sprayed with tanking system insulation and a damp-proof membrane before being tiled in the same ceramic floor tile as the mezzanine terrace below.