Colchester Zoo

Case Study Highlights

ProjectColchester Zoo
ScopeORION Cantilever Tensile Membrane Canopy

Replacing a fire damaged shelter for their celebrated ‘Lost Madagascar Express’ visitor journey train, Colchester Zoo were looking for an architecturally significant canopy structure that would shelter queueing park visitors and the zoo’s two land trains while providing a statement focal point for the immediate area.

As the seventh canopy project for Streetspace at Colchester Zoo, our team required just three days of on-site installation to complete the project in time for the busy Autumn Half-Term Break, ensuring minimal park disruption at this highly popular attraction.

Located in the shadow of the Giraffe House, the new canopy was part of an impressive external refurbishment project involving extensive hard and soft landscaping to the environs of the Lost Madagascar Express, including the installation of a glass balustrades for edge protection to the adjacent water courses and as separation for queuing visitors from the train loading areas.


The canopy structure is a cantilever design, providing a total of 190m2 of cover with 6m width over the two trains and 3.5m over the queuing and pushchair storage area. Working closely with our tensile membrane manufacturing partners we designed a bespoke one-piece membrane incorporating ingenious fabric welded/stainless steel ‘boots’, to provide a weatherproof seal to the canopy columns. Using Ferrari F502 high-tech PVC architectural fabric, the tensile membrane PVDF top coat works as a self-cleaning lacquering layer for improved UV resistance retaining great looks over the long term.

The end result is a contemporary canopy structure with superb aesthetics that is also a highly effective shelter. The relatively complex elements in the design and construction of this unique project highlight the strength of the Streetspace team and its specialist partners. From the structural engineering of the cantilever, reinforced ground engineering, tensile membrane patterning design to the skilled installation and access teams that delivered the project on time and in budget.

Follow the link for further information on fabric canopies OR give our team a call on 01227 200404

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