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Bryant Priest Newman to oversee £1.15 million revamp of Lubetkin's Dudley Zoo

Birmingham’s Bryant Priest Newman is drawing up plans to renovate four Tecton structures at the 1937 Dudley Zoological Gardens (DZG)

Last week the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) handed over initial development funding of £123,000 for the project, giving the team another two years to submit detailed plans and apply for a full HLF grant of just over £970,000.

The zoo contains the world’s largest single collection of Berthold Lubetkin and Tecton buildings, a total of 12 structures including six animal enclosures, the zoo’s entrance, two cafés, a restaurant and two kiosks.

Lubetkin, who designed the famous Penguin Pool at London Zoo, worked on the designs between 1935 and 1937. 

Dudley Zoo’s significance to the history of modern architecture in the UK cannot be underestimated

Scheduled to begin in 2012, the scheme will see the repair, renovation and new interpretation of four of the Tecton structures – Bear Ravine, Front Entrance, Safari Shop and Kiosk One

Larry Priest, of Bryant Priest Newman architects, said: ‘We are very pleased to be working with DZG in developing detailed proposals for the repair of four of the modernist Tecton Structures. The buildings, unknown to many, are of worldwide importance and we hope this is the first step in what will ultimately be the repair and conservation of all of the structures at Dudley. 

I visited the zoo as a young child, as a student of architecture and as an adult with my own children and feel very privileged to be involved with the project.’ 

Jon Wright, senior caseworker for The Twentieth Century Society said: ‘Dudley Zoo’s significance to the history of modern architecture in the UK cannot be underestimated and the Society are pleased to see so many organisations and individuals working to save these iconic Lubetkin buildings.’ 

Previous story (AJ 12.10.2009)

Lubetkin’s Dudley Zoo on World Monument Fund Watch List

Berthold Lubetkin and Tecton’s Dudley Zoo has been placed on this year’s ‘Watch List’ by the World Monuments Fund

The complex of 12 structure includes six animal enclosures, the zoo’s entrance, two cafés, a restaurant and two kiosks. It is the only surviving interrelated Tecton design in the UK.

Lubetkin, who designed the famous Penguin Pool at London Zoo, worked on the designs between 1935 and 1937. The World Monuments Fund’s citation read:

Neglect, construction issues, and alterations have left the Tecton buildings in a general state of dilapidation and deterioration. Some can no longer function as they once did because of their current disrepair and the changing standards of zoo and animal management. Nevertheless, the buildings help define the zoo’s identity and unique character while remaining a significant architectural achievement.’

Other UK projects on the list include the late-18th-century Georgian-style docks at Sheerness Dockyard;St. John the Evangelist Parish church, Shobdon; Carlisle memorial methodist church, Belfast, Northern Ireland; Edinburgh historic graveyards , Scotland; and Russborough country house, Blessington, County Wicklow, Ireland.

Read more about the zoo here

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