Talking Tectons!

Two sets of building conservation experts have toured DZG’s impressive Tecton structures to get a closer look at our remarkable renovations.

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ABOVE – Our eye-catching entrance was renovated thanks to Heritage Lottery funding

A group from ASCHB – the Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings – came on site and a few days later a party from Historic England’s Building Conservation and Research Team joined us.

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ABOVE – ASCHB visitors learn more about DZG Tectons from structural engineer Stuart Tappin

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ABOVE – Members of Historic England’s Building Conservation and Research Team at Dudley Zoo

Both groups were welcomed by internationally-renowned structural engineer, Stuart Tappin, who outlined details of the Heritage Lottery funded project to repair four of the iconic concrete structures.

Following his presentation in our Tecton exhibition area, both groups enjoyed exploring the Modernist buildings including the imposing bear ravine with our Construction Supervisor Carlo Diponio.

They learnt how DZG had developed a pioneering apprentice scheme to hone bespoke building skills for specialist concrete restoration using traditional methods.

DZG has the world’s largest single collection of Tecton structures, designed by Russian architect Berthold Lubetkin and constructed between 1935-37 using a specialist system of reinforced concrete.

The 12-strong group of buildings was granted World Monuments Fund status in 2009, ranked alongside such world-famous landmarks as Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal. 

dzg_minister_1_1_0Heritage Lottery funding has enabled repair work to be carried out for the first time on four of the structures – the Safari Shop, the eye-catching entrance, bear ravine and kiosk one, affording them a new lease of life as part of the multi-million pound makeover.

Carlo said: “Both groups enjoyed getting an insight into this unique project and it was equally enjoyable for me to meet people who can share their knowledge of building conservation and methods.”

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ABOVE – Members of Historic England’s Building Conservation and Research Team at our Bear Ravine

Chris Wood, Head of Building Conservation and Research Team for Historic England, said: “It was a most enjoyable and worthwhile occasion for us all.

“We were particularly impressed with the approach to the concrete repairs and the quality of workmanship. It is more typical of what we see on precious ancient fabric but very rarely applied to modern concrete.”

dzg_minister_1_1_0The Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings was founded in 1968 to provide a forum for professionals engaged in the conservation of the built environment.

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Historic England is the public body that looks after England’s historic environment. It champions historic places, helping people understand, value and care for them.

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ABOVE – Snow beautiful – The stunning bear ravine renovations were completed at the start of the year

Tectons at Dudley Zoological Gardens include Entrance, Safari Shop, Bear Ravine, Kiosk One, Polar Bear Triple Complex, Queen Mary Restaurant, Elephant House, Kiosk Two, Sealion Pool