Museum of Zoology

The Museum forms part of the David Attenborough Building at the University of Cambridge, an iconic sixties building that has been re-invented as a centre for conservation science and research. The project has transformed the world-class academic collections into an accessible and exciting destination for the public.

The Museum’s vision is to encourage young people to develop a passion for science and discovery. A new Activity Room allows the Museum to run hands on projects for young visitors and a Discovery Centre, directly linked to the main gallery, facilitates immediate and closer interpretation of the artefacts. The galleries have been re-modelled too and state-of-the art stores with new laboratories and conservation facilities complete the suite of supporting spaces.

Improved accessibility

Access to the museum has been transformed by a dramatic new entrance – this double height, fully glazed space showcases the museum’s fin back whale skeleton and provides and exciting introduction to the new gallery and education spaces. A high level gantry running the length of the whale leads visitors to the new café.

This marvellous museum at Cambridge University has functions both academic and scholarly, but also very importantly, it is a place where the public at large can come to see, study and wonder
Sir David Attenborough

Public art

Artworks inspired by the Museum’s collections are integrated into the building fabric are designed to engage the public and lead visitors from the city centre car park into the building. The reclaimed slate wall associated with the Museum entrance also incorporates habitats for bats, birds and insects.

A showcase of sustainability best practice, while preserving the architectural integrity of the original design
Andy Pearson, CIBSE Journal

Our Team

Project Team

  • Client: University of Cambridge
  • Project Planning: AECOM
  • Cost Planning: AECOM
  • Structural Engineer: AECOM
  • Services Engineer: BuroHappold
  • Sustainability Consultant: BuroHappold
  • Biodiversity & Green Infrastructure: The Green Infrastructure Consultancy
  • Public Art: Ackroyd & Harvey
  • Contractor: Kier Construction
  • Museum Fit Out: Blue The Design Company Ltd
  • Photographer: Alan Williams (David Attenborough Building), Julia Sarmiento (whale hall photo only)


  • Awards for this project are listed with the David Attenborough Building