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Here Be Dragons! at the National Zoological Society of Wales

Welsh Mountain Zoo Logo

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”   Bertrand Russell

Conceived and delivered through a strategic partnership with Bangor University and Conwy County Borough Council, HBD will be a new discovery centre, science and community facility at the HQ of the National Zoological Society of Wales (‘Welsh Mountain Zoo’).

HBD will capitalise our public’s huge and attested interest in the exotic to cause visitors to reflect back on the value that can be found in the regional and local. So HBD’s core idea is that those apparently familiar things on your very doorstep can be just as wonderful, just as useful, and just as intellectually compelling as ‘far away’ offers, both expensive and time consuming to visit.

Concept building elevations

Concept building elevations

This will extend to the unknown frontiers of exciting new knowledge inherent in the research and teaching programmes of partner, Bangor University.  It is likely that science themes will include evolution and genetics, bio-science, coastal shelf science, environmental and renewable building technology. Equally HBD will champion industry and commerce associated with these University research themes and for which North Wales is particularly celebrated.

HBD will also signpost its audiences towards the natural, wild, outdoors and landscape tourism and leisure offer of North Wales, including cultural as well as biological associations; within this we will celebrate the rural and agricultural fabric/communities of our region including the importance of locally produced food and drink.

Finally HBD will have an important social responsibility and community cohesion identity. Dedicated elements will provide learning, skilling and volunteering to enhance personal confidence and develop new community links, especially amongst particular ‘at need’ groups.

hbe-1Figure 1: Interrelationship of outputs of Project


Figure 2: Interrelationship of physical site elements of Project

The main physical element of HBD will be a striking ‘statement’ building surmounted by a glass dome, arising naturally from the surrounding landscape and designed in sympathy with other site buildings and planting. An original design combines fluid curves with arresting angles in a composite that invokes curiosity, excitement and a wish to explore.  The eco-design of the structure will optimise production of ‘clean’ energy, relating to Bangor University technology. The entire building will be wrapped in specially designed, iridescent ‘dragon skin’ fabric reflecting both a Welsh mythological theme and cutting edge research into reflective and energy efficient surfaces.