ZSL London Zoo

London, United Kingdom

ZSL London Zoo


The Penguin Pool at London Zoo, Regent's Park is a penguin enclosure designed in the International Modernist style by Berthold Lubetkin and the Tecton Group. Constructed in 1934, Historic England describe it as "a key symbol of British (and International) Modern Movement architecture". The pool housed the zoo's collection of penguins for 70 years. Changing attitudes to keeping animals in captivity, and concerns regarding the suitability of the structure for penguin well-being, saw the pool's closure in 2004 and its subsequent replacement by Penguin Beach. After a period of non-use, during which Lubetkin's daughter called for the structure to be "blown to smithereens", the pool was converted into a water feature. It is a Grade I listed building.

The Zoological Society of London was founded in 1826 and by 1828 had established a zoological garden in Regent's Park. From its beginnings, the Society employed a series of notable architects to create its buildings: Decimus Burton designed many of the earliest structures, including the Llama and Camel House in 1828, the Ravens' Cage in the same year, and the Giraffe House in 1836; Anthony Salvin Jr. built the Aviary in 1863; Charles Brown Trollope undertook the Stork and Ostrich House in 1896, and Guy Dawber built the Reptile House in 1927. Until the early 20th century, the prevailing view of animal husbandry was that exotic animals would not survive in the colder, Northern European environment and that it was therefore necessary to confine them in shelters. The appointment of Peter Chalmers Mitchell as Secretary of the Society in 1903 saw a change of view, towards creating more natural habitats; Mitchell himself, in conjunction with John James Joass, designed the Mappin Terraces, a series of artificial mountains designed to provided realistic environments for bears and other animals.

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