Sydney Zoo, Nocturnal Animal Enclosure


Spantech has helped to build Australia’s most advanced zoo in the heart of Western Sydney.

Sydney Zoo is a world class zoo that is set to be one of Western Sydney’s main attractions.

Embracing technology and innovation to improve animal welfare, visitor engagement and education, Sydney Zoo exhibits a wide range of animals in a safari-like experience. With clever designs hiding barriers combined with the latest technology, it provides an experience that is more immersive and engaging than traditional zoos.

Sydney Zoo includes approximately 30 exhibits and a variety of animal species such as highly popular exotic and Australian animals.

Sydney Zoo

Nocturnal Animal Enclosure

13.4 metres

60 metres

7.5 metres

Misho + Associates

Spantech product
Woomera 300 profile

Spantech worked with Misho + Associates to design and construct the base structure for the Nocturnal Animal Enclosure.

Key to the success of this project was Spantech’s ability to meet the project’s budget while delivering a structure as close as possible to the Architect’s original vision.

The original design incorporated three separate earth-covered structures using a precast concrete arch system. Construction of this approach proved too expensive. It would also require painting of all internal concrete surfaces and future maintenance of the finish.

Spantech’s solution was to construct a single building instead of three structures and cast in a number of small precast concrete tunnels to create emergency exits where required.

The Woomera 300 profile was used as the permanent in situ formwork to a reinforced, shotcrete concrete arch. This method was faster and more cost-effective than the precast option. The Spantech formwork was manufactured from Z-600 coil steel, which Spantech had pre-painted in matte black. The internal finish is now a maintenance-free strung metal lining, impervious to leaks.

During construction in 2018, Seven News Sydney visited the site.

Seven News Sydney posted this story on Facebook on 17 August 2018. Bungaribee: The Western Sydney Zoo is starting to take shape. Animal enclosures and the walkways around them are now emerging from the worksite.

Misho + Associates held a strong vision for the design of the new buildings in the Sydney Zoo.

The proposed new series of buildings that are set within the design of the new Sydney Zoo are to be secondary to the main feature, the animals.

The architect’s primary concept was to have the building mimic the landscape and blend into the existing and proposed new landscape solution for the site. The buildings on the site each create a point of difference within the area of the master plan; the buildings’ own expression is based on the use and the position within the site.

The form of the buildings will maximise the opportunity offered from the site without impacting on the surrounding landscape and the amenity of the area.

Using a Spantech earth-covered building fits perfectly with the architect’s vision to ensure buildings become identifiable from afar, yet sit comfortably in the landscape.

Where facades are used, they create a visually rich screen of constantly changing patterns of light and movement. The ends of the Nocturnal Enclosure feature rustic rough-finished recycled Tasmanian timbers. They add an ever-changing layer of visual delight to the building and the overall landscape.

Throughout the new Sydney Zoo the simple palette of materials detailed carefully, creates an impression of quality and longevity. The lack of applied decoration masking the design is clear. Decoration is applied through the layering of light and shadow over the building structures.

Understated yet elegantly simple.

Sydney Zoo was officially opened in December 2019. For more information visit