The London Zoo is not only the world’s oldest zoo but it also features a unique collections of buildings that represent nearly two centuries of architectural history. A clear example is the Penguin Pool designed in 1934 by Berthold Lubetkin.
Penguin Pool of London by Berthold Lubetkin technical information
- Architects : Berthold Lubetkin
- Location : London, England
- Typology : Facilities / Zoo installation
- Project Year: 1934
- Structure : Reinforced Concrete
- Photographs : © Via Wikimedia Commons & © RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Architecture can be a potent weapon, a committed driving force on the side of enlightenment, aiming however indirectly at the transformation of our present make-believe society, where images outstrip reality and rewards outpace achievement.
– Berthold Lubetkin
Penguin Pool of London Photographs
Penguin Pool of London description
In 1934, London Zoo (the Regent’s Park zoo in London) unveiled its famous spiral-ramped “Penguin Pool,” designed by Tecton, an influential architectural firm led by Russian emigre Berthold Lubetkin.
With the help of engineers Ove Arup and Felix Samuely, architect Berthold Lubetkin (Tecton) was able to exhibit the zoo’s penguins in “…an exquisite example of modernist architecture”. The result is a pair of interwining ramps, cantilevered above the elliptical pool.
Like the Mappin Terraces, it fully explores the sculptural possibilities of concrete. Unfortunately the pool proved to be unsuitable to the penguins, and in 2004 it ceased to be their home. The penguin colony was temporarily relocated to one of the zoo’s duck ponds and took such a strong liking to their new habitat that it was decided that they would remain there.
Tecton’s innovative Modernist design was unusually elegant and playful and one of the first uses of reinforced concrete.