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.
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.”
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.”