Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Ed Vaizey will be visiting DZG today to view four Modernist concrete structures that have been restored to their 1930’s glory.
The minister will be accompanied by DZG CEO Peter Suddock and Reyhan King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands who have supported the £1.15million project to restore the Tecton buildings the zoo’s iconic wave Entrance, Safari Shop, Bear Ravine and Kiosk One. DZG has the world’s largest single collection of Tectons a total of 12 designed by Russian-born Berthold Lubetkin, widely recognised as one of the most outstanding architects of the 1930s, and built between 1935 and May 1937 when the zoo opened to the public. The collection was awarded World Monument status in 2009. Peter Suddock said: “We are looking forward to meeting the Minister and showing him the project that was made possible by HLF we are immensely grateful that we have been given such an opportunity to work on this incredible collection that is recognised across the globe.
Newly-restored iconic ‘wave’ Entrance
“They have been restored using original techniques and materials; this is the first time this has been done worldwide so it truly is a unique programme.” The 36-month project also included the refurbishment of the site’s vintage chairlift and the launch of a pioneering apprenticeship scheme in concrete repair and conservation. Mr Suddock added:? “It’s very much a bespoke scheme and we believe it will provide valuable skills within the building restoration industry, plus training apprentices on site will allow us to continue reparation of our other Tecton structures. “The apprenticeship scheme has proved so successful that restoration of the Bear Ravine and Kiosk One has been completed ahead of schedule due to these homegrown skills. “This knowledge has been shared with others as we progress; 20th Century society have been involved alongside international professional bodies, including architects and structural engineers.” Mr Vaizey will be meeting the four-strong Team Tecton apprentices, 19-year-olds Aaron Gelder and Nathan Beaman plus concrete repair specialist, Martin Baker and Construction Supervisor Carlo Diponio, during the tour.