The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

West Midlands

Event: visit to Dudley Zoo and town

Architect and C20 West Midlands committee member Larry Priest ( will be leading a visit to Dudley Zoo on Saturday 23 January.

Dudley Zoo contains the largest collection of Tecton buildings in the world. The series of loosely linked, concrete-reinforced structures originally included an Elephant House, Polar Bear Pit, Bear Ravine and Aviary, and were sited on a steeply sloping landscape around the historic Dudley Castle.

The generic name for the structures comes from the Tecton practice of architect Berthold Lubetkin, who designed the Penguin Pool at London Zoo (1934), which led to the Dudley commission (completed in 1937).

With support from C20, the surviving Tectons were placed on the World Monuments Fund Watchlist in 2010, highlighting their international significance and the urgent need for restoration and reuse.

Our event will focus on the conservation-based approach to preserving and renewing these buildings. We’ll hear about work on the zoo’s entrance, with its curved roof forms, and the Station Cafe, which will house a new entrance, shop and displays.

As well as contributions from the client, architect, engineer and specialist contractor, we’ll have a chance to tour the wider site area and see some of the other Tectons.

We expect to meet outside the main entrance of the zoo, and to start around 10.30am with an introduction, followed by talks, tours a Q&A session and lunch.

Details will be confirmed shortly, but please put the date in your diary.

Lou Robson