Tecton talk and tour

DZC’s iconic Tectons were once again under the spotlight as we welcomed building conservation and repair professionals on site.

The 30-strong group of conservation architects, building surveyors and structural engineers from Historic England and English Heritage Trust took part in a technical study day at the end of last year, which featured presentations and talks in the Go Wild! Theatre, followed by a tour of the zoo’s unique reinforced concrete structures, of which DZC has the world’s largest single collection.

During the event, delegates heard from structural engineer, Stuart Tappin, about the repair works on the Safari Shop, turnstile Entrance, Bear Ravine and Kiosk One, which were undertaken between 2013 and 2015 under his guidance, as well as the recent structural assessments of the four yet-to-be repaired Tecton structures – Discovery Centre (the former Moat Café), Queen Mary Restaurant (formerly the Castle Restaurant), Tropical Birdhouse and Elephant House.

DZC Finance Manager, Jonathan Ashfield, pictured with the group, said: “We were pleased to welcome a delegation from Historic England to DZC and everyone commented on how useful it was to talk to people who had been instrumental in repairing these buildings and that they would very much like to come back and look at any future repairs.”

DZC’s 12 Tectons, which also include the Polar Bear Triple Complex, Kiosk Two, Sea lion Pool and Reptile Pit, were unveiled on the 2010 Watch List of endangered heritage sites by the World Monument Fund, ranking them alongside the likes of the Taj Mahal.

Historic England Senior Building Conservation Advisor, Nicola Lauder, said: “Historic England was very grateful to Dudley Zoo and Castle for hosting this professional training event and support their aim to repair the Tectons still requiring attention. When these works start on site, just as with the 2013 to 2015 works, this will be another valuable opportunity to raise both the craft and professional skills needed in the conservation repair of reinforced concrete 20th century structures.”