Sustainable building from Fordingbridge

Fordingbridge’s visitor centre at Whipsnade Zoo brings new standards of sustainable design to the leisure sector.

The new entrance building, designed and built using Fordingbridge’s signature design features, unites core visitor functions in a single bright and permeable space to ensure a seamless and exciting new entry point for the zoo’s visitors.

A timber triple span canopy, designed to ensure visitors are comfortable whatever the weather, virtually doubles the main building space and provides exciting opportunities for pop-up retail units under a fabric roof.

Succeeding the canopy a fully glazed building facade provides uninterrupted views to the zoo, enhancing the anticipation of the visitor. Once inside, the internal environment helps visitors feel immersed in and connected with the animal world.

With all of our projects, our approach to sustainability ensures that we maximise the efficiency of our structures throughout their whole lifecycle, from design, to build, to occupation.

The image above enables us to outline a whole range of the building’s sustainability credentials:

Timber frame

The glulaminated timber structural frame is sustainably sourced FSC accredited Norwegian Spruce grade GL24. Glulaminated timber marries the warm aesthetic of timber with the structural ingenuity and elegant shapes possible, thanks to its strength.

Inverted roof

The curved roofing system, synonymous with Fordingbridge design, uses highly insulated composite panels in a construction method which ensures high air tightness within the building.

Glazing system

A high performance aluminium glazing system with integrated doors and opening windows assists natural ventilation and maximises natural daylight.


Three dedicated Air Source Heat Pumps working in conjunction with the building’s underfloor heating system provide a robust, low energy and low maintenance heating solution.

Passive ventilation

High level opening windows allow the building to moderate its internal temperature through passive ventilation. This minimises energy demand for heating and cooling strategies.

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