A review of Phase Two of DZG’s £1.15million Heritage Lottery Funded Tecton restoration programme united historic buildings experts in an exploration of our Modernist Bear Ravine and Kiosk One.
Guests heard key speakers DZG CEO Peter Suddock, architect Larry Priest and internationally-renowned structural engineer, Stuart Tappin share their passion for Berthold Lubetkin’s pioneering structures, built between 1935-37 using concrete reinforced with steel rods. Following the progress report delegates took in a guided tour of the Bear Ravine, formerly home to a group of brown bears and adjacent Kiosk One, which sold a range of confectionery, including sticks of rock and ice creams, from the day the zoo opened in May 1937 until the mid-1980s when a change in health and safety regulations prompted its closure. The event took place in the newly-created Tecton Interpretation Centre within the Safari Shop.
Guests included: Harriet Devlin of Birmingham University, John Woodall of West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, Dr Neil Rimmington and Chris Wood of English Heritage, artist Simon Bloor and Sue Beardsmore of Heritage Lottery Fund.
Mr Suddock said: “All of the delegates were impressed by the progress made to our Tecton structures, and were delighted at the speed we are now working on the Bear Ravine and Kiosk One.”
DZG has the world’s largest single Tecton collection with all 12 buildings gaining World Monuments Fund status in 2009.
In the past 18 months an in-house team of construction specialists, boosted by DZG concrete repair apprentices and contractors, has successfully completed restoration of the Safari Shop and iconic wave Entrance, before focusing on the Bear Ravine considered by many to be the most impressive of Lubetkin’s zoo structures and Kiosk One, using authentic 1930’s techniques.
Mr Suddock added: “When we held our initial review into progress on the Entrance and Safari Shop it was difficult for many of the delegates to share our optimism.
“Both structures had suffered over the decades; the entrance had undergone minimal maintenance and