Makeover for meerkats!

Work renovating Dudley Zoo’s pioneering meerkat enclosure is taking shape as a cubic metre of concrete has been poured into its wavy walls.

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ABOVE – Construction Supervisor Carlo Diponio adds the finishing touches to the Tecton enclosure

The reptilary, home to our large group of meerkats, is one of 12 reinforced concrete Tectons at DZG.

Our Construction Supervisor Carlo Diponio and apprentice Nathan Beaman have spent weeks working on the walls at the back of the meerkats’ home.

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Carlo, pictured above working with the curved construction, said: “The back of the enclosure was damaged so we needed to reinstate the concrete.

“We’ve just poured in a cubic metre of concrete into wooden shuttering we made to give the walls their curved shape and then we had to create the textured finish, an exposed aggregate finish, which was an original feature.

“We did a lot of test samples first to make sure we were replicating the orginal look and we’re really pleased with how it looks so far.”

webcarlomeerkat2The work is being carried our thanks to a £1.15 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

As well as funding the renovation of the Safari Gift Shop, Entrance, Bear Ravine and Kiosk One, the grant covered an apprentice-training scheme to create an in-house team of specialist concrete repairers.

Dudley Zoo has the world’s largest single collection of Tectons which were awarded World Monument status in 2009.

The eye-catching curving structures were designed by Russian-born Berthold Lubetkin, one of the most outstanding architects of the 1930s.

They were built between 1935 and the zoo’s opening in May 1937 and considered structurally daring at the time.