British Listed Buildings

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Penguin Pool, Westminster

Description: Penguin Pool

Grade: I
Date Listed: 14 September 1970
English Heritage Building ID: 207753

OS Grid Reference: TQ2817383293
OS Grid Coordinates: 528173, 183293
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5340, -0.1535

Location: Camden Town, Greater London NW1 4PT

Locality: Westminster
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: NW1 4PT

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Listing Text

Penguin Pool


Penguin pool. 1934, by Lubetkin and Tecton with Ove Arup as consultant structural engineer to the architects and Felix Samuely as consultant engineer to the contractors, J.L. Kier. The Penguin pool was the second commission Lubetkin and Tecton received from the Zoological Society, followed the same year with work for the Society at Whipsnade. Reinforced concrete; interior surfaces have slate-paved steps, "plastic rubber" (cork chippings, rubber and cement) to flat pool surrounds and exposed concrete finish to ramps. Elliptical pool, with cantilevered interlocking spiral ramps and elliptical enclosure with parapet rising to form framed viewing aperture, canopied at one end. The 2 interlocking but independant ramps are cantilevered over 14.021 metres without intermediate support, their depth ranging from 152 mm to only 76mm. At the head of one of the ramps is a glass fronted diving tank. The concrete of the ramps was designed to be permanently wetted by a revolving fountain. A key symbol of British (and International) Modern Movement architecture and of notable structural and technical virtuosity for its time, the design pursues the behaviourist and environmental research programme of the Gorilla House q.v. as the basis for
creating a dynamic and almost abstract architectural showcase for the display of
the penguins' antics.
Lubetkin and Tecton, Architecture and Social Responsibility: Peter Coe and Malcolm Reading.

Listing NGR: TQ2817383293

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.