Due to COVID-19 the 2021 Mosman Design Awards have been postponed until 2023

Taronga Institute of Science and Learning


Taronga Conservation Society (TCS) believes in a shared future, where wildlife and people don’t just live together, they thrive together. The first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the Institute supports this vision by enabling Taronga to expand capabilities in conservation science, research and learning. Located within Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, visitors can freely enter and immerse themselves.

The design centres around an atrium space that seamlessly links the building’s three major hubs. Facilities include immersive learning spaces themed around rainforest, arid and woodland habitats; digital teaching labs; and laboratories. External wildlife encounter spaces allow real interaction between visitors and animals.

The site sits on the hill overlooking Sydney Harbour. Natural materiality ensures minimal visual impact and creates a harmonious relationship between the built form and the Sydney sandstone environment. Inspiration was taken from the patterns found in DNA structures to influence façade design and to reflect scientific research.


The facility is a living example of conservation achieving a six-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. Taronga is the first zoo in Australia to be awarded the highest possible environmental rating. Sustainability features include:

- Harnessing solar power
- Appropriate waste management
- Best practice in building design