Penguin Pool, London Zoo, Regent's Park, London: ramps under construction
Lubetkin Drake & Tecton
Havinden, John (1908-1987)
Colour / B&W
Black & white
RIBA Library Photographs Collection
This was Tecton's second commission for the Royal Zoological Society, the site consisting of a series of derelict ponds and a paddock. A dramatic design was needed to show off the antics of the penguins and this was achieved by two cantilevered ramps spiralling around one another without any intermediate support. The surrounding trees were kept and a cover provided around part of the elliptical structure to protect the penguins from the sun. The flat paths were coated with plastic rubber, the steps were of slate and the concrete ramps were kept wet by a revolving fountain. The structure was allowed under a clause in the London Building Act which exempted from the regulations buildings under a certain size which were not destined for human habitation and which were more than 30 ft from any other building. The pool had been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair after the Royal Zoological Society encountered strong opposition to its plans for major alterations in 1951. The pool was listed in 1970 and restored in 1988. The executive architects were Lubetkin and Drake.