A Multi-Sensory Attraction in Timber

Using raw materials to enhance and celebrate Taronga Zoo’s unique character, this immersive multi-sensory visitor attraction embraces its unique site.
Project Name
Centenary Theatre at Taronga Zoo
Case Study Type

Bradleys Head Rd
Mosman NSW 2088

Photographer Details


The Centenary Theatre at Taronga Zoo is positioned near the zoo entrance, offering visitors iconic views overlooking the giraffe enclosure to Sydney Harbour. Creating an immersive multi-sensory visitor attraction, the 160-seat theatre delivers a unique learning experience with a 5x25 metre wrap-around screen serviced by large format laser-phosphor projectors and commercial surroundsound speakers. Materials selected enhance and celebrate the zoo’s unique character in response to the brief.

Raw materials used throughout the project include honed concrete, blackbutt timber cladding boards and oversized battens, mild steel plate cladding to vestibules and textured fibre cement panelling. Such materials are also reflected internally with tongue and groove blackbutt lining boards and blackbutt veneer on custom designed seating benches, further connecting visitors to the wider zoo environment.

The linear external timber batten façade and landscape screening provide a strong architectural response, embracing the unique site and playing with ever-changing shadows cast by large fig trees.


-33.8530418, 151.2464275


Interior Panelling: The rear of the theatre features a solid timber wall lining system. The cladding system was also mounted on doors and window coverings. 250x39mm internal tongue and groove cladding was used, finished in Cutek Extreme Clear.

Doors: Solid timber doors were used throughout the project. Two of the timber doors to the back wall are also lined with blackbutt cladding to conceal the doors in the overall timber wall.

Joinery and Cabinetry: The benches used an aluminium frame which were clad with ply and blackbutt timber veneer. The veneer was finished with the Cutek Clear product to colour match the benches to the back wall. Steel straps were used for their raw aesthetic which tied in with materials used elsewhere.

Cladding: Blackbutt was used throughout the project in a number of forms. 180x42mm timber battens form the screening for the building and the landscape, and were finished in Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 teak. The 250x39mm timber weatherboard cladding was finished in Cutek Extreme Clear.

Screen: 180x42mm blackbutt timber battens form the screening for the building and the landscape. The battens are finished in Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 teak.

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