Tecton talk for Andrew

American student, Andrew Tripp, brushed up on Tecton talk when he visited DZG as part of a fact-finding tour into the work of architect Berthold Lubetkin.

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DZG has the world’s largest single collection of Tectons – 12 Modernist buildings constructed between 1935 and the zoo’s opening in May 1937, which were designed by Russian emigre, Lubetkin, and awarded World Monument status in 2009 – and is currently the focus of much attention as four of the structures undergo restoration.   Andrew, a  PhD student in Architectural History at the University of Pennsylvania, took in a tour of the DZG site with DZG consultant architect David Plant, of Bryant Priest Newman – pictured above right, with Andrew – before trawling through our Archives for information to boost his dissertation on Lubetkin’s work.   He said: “I found the whole experience fascinating; I have long admired the DZG Tectons, but to see them close up was amazing. It was a short visit, but I hope to return.   “I very much appreciated the opportunity to discuss this project with Head of Media and Communications, Jill Hitchman, who has written a book about DZG’s Tecton collection (Towers and Tectons: A View from the Hill, 2009), and to view and study related archival material.”

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Jill said: “Andrew was interested in the concept of Lubetkin’s work, which, in the late 1930s, was seen as avant garde and certainly unique for the design of animal enclosures.   “It was a pleasure to hear his views and share an enthusiasm for buildings which offered a structurally daring style of architecture that exploited new technologies.   “When DZG opened to the public it was classed as ‘The most modern zoo in Europe, a zoo without bars’ wholly due to Lubetkin’s innovative designs.  

“They are an inspiring collection of buildings and set for a renaissance they truly deserve.”