Case study
Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo is based in Winchester and is set amongst 100 acres of woodland countryside. The zoo has been operating for 50 years 



The Masterplan

The masterplan for Marwell began in 2012. Two of the proposed six new exhibits have been completed

Wild Explorers –
Home of the rhino, oryx and zebra

Experiencing the African Wilderness first hand at Marwell’s biggest exhibit to date

Wild Explorers

“Zoo and safari park design has evolved considerably over the past few years. Visitors are now expecting exciting, memorable and immersive experiences and exhibits that create a sense of theatre. They should promote conservation in an educational but accessible way, placing animal care at the heart of the concept."

"Wild Explorers creates an engaging and fun experience that takes visitors from a rolling Hampshire landscape, into an immersive environment where the rhinos, oryx and zebras are truly at home.” 

Simon Newell
Lead Architect



“The concept of Wild Explorers was to allow the visitor to move from the rolling Hampshire landscape and pass through the first visitor area into the immersive environment of the rhinos, oryx and zebra."

"Planting was chosen to represent the home scenery of the animals housed within Wild Explorers. Fun elements such as a safari vehicle resting by the water hole, from where keepers undertake daily talks, add to the design narrative”

Neil Edmonds

Landscape Architect

Tropical House –

Energy for Life

And then a commission to design Marwell’s most ambitious project to date...

“The client’s brief gave us the opportunity to design a radical new tropical house and energy centre that creates addictive series of different experiences to engage the visitor, utilising the site’s level changes to produce an immersive walkthrough jungle treetops, a clearing and a jungle floor.”

Simon Newell
Lead Architect


“As cultural heritage specialists, we provided strategic advice and prepared heritage statements to address potential impacts on the Grade 1 listed Marwell Hall and its setting, together with a number of other listed and unlisted garden and ancillary structures.”

John Trehy
Heritage specialist


“Our environmental planning team has played a key advisory role in support of Marwell Wildlife’s applications for the Wild Explorer enclosure and the state-of-the-art Tropical House. 

Through our environmental impact assessment (EIA) screening exercises, we agreed with the local planning authority that neither application required a formal EIA and ensured that the scope of survey work necessary for each application was proportional and robust.”

Emma Robinson
Associate Director


The client's perspective
James Cretney
Chief Executive Marwell Wildlife

“Building the UK’s future zoos requires a knowledge and respect for conservation and animal welfare, and the ability to challenge the accepted relationship between the landscape and the building.

Terence O’Rourke worked with us to understand the complex relationships and requirements of the ‘Wild Explorers’ species and assisted in producing a truly world class exhibit, respectful of our ethos.”