Saturday, July 25, 2009

Old Penguin Pool, London Zoo

Old Penguin Pool, London ZooThe old Penguin Pool at London Zoo, dating from 1934, is a fabulous Modernist building designed by Berthold Lubetkin and architectural firm Tecton. Unfortunately it is not so fabulous as a place to keep wildlife.

The spirialing ramps and open egg-shaped enclosure provide little shade and according to stories, provided little protection from predators such as urban foxes.

I visited on a grey day in 2001 and it was looking a bit sad. As you can see there are more seagulls than penguins.

The building is Grade I listed and therefore protected so now that the penguins have a new more suitable enclosure, Lubetkin's pool has been restored as an elaborate water feature.

Old Penguin Pool, London Zoo


  1. I've never enjoyed a zoo. They always feel cruel and mawkish.

    Might have to visit the London Zoo anyway to see this.

    I can imagine an cartoon version of this enclosure with the penguins doing a choreographed song and dance in it.

  2. know what you mean about zoos but they have improved a lot from the ones I remember as a child. I especially like the butterfly house at Melbourne Zoo where we enter their environment.

    I believe Lubetkin saw the penguin pool as a 'stage set' so you are not far off the mark with the dance routine.