Visitors to Chester Zoo can enjoy clear, uninterrupted views of Yashin and Nubra, two rare snow leopards through an immersive viewing enclosure using specialised anti-reflective glazing provided by Pilkington UK.

Two glass viewing screens, each 7.5 x 2.5 metres, are made up of three 10 mm layers of heat strengthened glass, laminated with two 1.52 mm thick PVB interlayers to ensure safety and durability. That way, even in the unlikely event of the glass cracking, the glazed barrier maintains its structural integrity and remains fit for purpose.

To address the common issue of glare and reflection in viewing enclosures, the manufacturer specified two panes of Pilkington OptiView Ultra, an anti-reflective coated glass that reduces light reflections to below 1%, compared to standard float glass with a light reflectance of 8%.

Between these a 10 mm centre pane of Pilkington Optiwhite was specified – an extra-clear glass that combines high light transmission and excellent colour clarity – ensuring an enhanced viewing experience for visitors.

Lee Shaw, Technical & Customer Support Manager at Pilkington UK said: “Contributing to a Chester Zoo first has been a really special opportunity for Pilkington UK. Our glazing will help to provide an immersive experience for guests, providing an exceptionally clear view of the new snow leopards that’s undisturbed by reflections whilst maximising light transmittance. 

“The glazing also helps Chester Zoo to meet its top priority of keeping its guests and animal residents safe, by providing a secure and robust barrier between the two.”

Cathy Lunn, Facilities and Development Director at Chester Zoo said: “For the first time in our 93-year history we have the privilege of caring for snow leopards, which will help us to further our mission to prevent the extinction of this highly threatened species.

“The glass Pilkington UK has specified enables our guests to clearly view the snow leopards in their habitat, contributing to the immersive and educational experience that we wanted to achieve.”

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