Carlo’s heritage nomination

We’re celebrating the news DZG’s construction supervisor, Carlo Diponio, has been shortlisted for a prestigious award recognising his work with the site’s iconic Tectons.

Carlo has been named as a finalist in the outstanding contribution to heritage category of the Historic England Angel Awards, founded by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which celebrate the efforts of individuals to champion their local heritage.

And the 45 year-old will find out if he’s won at a glittering red carpet awards ceremony at the Palace Theatre in London on October 31.

Carlo, who joined the zoo team in 2014 with a background in conservation and heritage, said: “I can’t believe it, it’s a massive honour to even be nominated, let alone shortlisted and I’m up against real professionals in the field who I don’t consider myself to be in the same league of, so this is just incredible for a man from Willenhall and for Dudley Zoo.”

As part of the Heritage Lottery funded £1.15million restoration project to bring four of the zoo’s structures – the iconic wave Entrance, Safari Shop, Bear Ravine and Kiosk One, back to their former glory, Carlo also headed an apprenticeship scheme which will help us restore the rest of the collection in the future using our own in-house specialist skills.

Carlo, who also designed and made his own innovative tools for the work, added: “It was literally a make or break situation as we worked to uncover 80 years of paint and decay on work of one of the most groundbreaking architects of all time.

“This was a massive project that I agreed to take on by myself, but I have loved every second and to get the Bear Ravine and Kiosk One removed from the Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register was unbelievable.”

DZG has the world’s largest single collection of Tectons – a total of 12 – designed by Russian-born Berthold Lubetkin and built between 1935 and May 1937 when the zoo opened to the public. 

The collection was awarded World Monument status in 2009.

Zoo Director, Derek Grove, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Carlo, whose commitment, skill and dedication is ensuring the successful restoration of our unique buildings and his enthusiasm for the zoo’s Modernist structures is certainly infectious!

“We’ve all got our fingers crossed that he’ll scoop the top prize, which he so very deserves.”

Well done, Carlo!