danica o. kus captures interwoven spiral ramps of modernist penguin pool at london zoo

danica o. kus captures interwoven spiral ramps of modernist penguin pool at london zoo

Danica O. Kus captures modernist Penguin Pool at london zoo

 

The Lubetkin Penguin Pool, a remarkable modernist enclosure at the London Zoo, offers a captivating experience for both animal and architecture enthusiasts. Constructed in 1934 by Berthold Lubetkin, a Georgian-born architect from the Tecton Group, the pool features an elliptical design with two intertwined spiral ramps crafted from reinforced concrete. Penguins leisurely roam and interact on these ramps, providing visitors with the opportunity to observe their behavior.

 

This iconic pool stands as a prominent landmark, capturing the attention of numerous admirers. In fact, its popularity is such that it is also available as a filming location, having notably appeared in the music video for As It Was by Harry Styles (who had his portrait painted by David Hockney — read designboom’s coverage here). The pool has also garnered the admiration of architectural photographer Danica O. Kus, who skillfully captures its intriguing design and integration with the surrounding environment.

danica o. kus captures interwoven spiral ramps of modernist penguin pool at london zoo
the Lubetkin Penguin Pool at the London Zoo | all images courtesy of Danica O. Kus

 

 

the architecture of the Lubetkin Penguin Pool

 

For her latest photography project, Danica O. Kus (find more here) documents the architecture of the Lubetkin Penguin Pool with its elliptical pool and its interwoven ramps, crafted from the then-revolutionary material of reinforced concrete. To bring the pool to life, Berthold Lubetkin collaborated with concrete specialist Ove Arup, who would later earn knighthood for his skillfulness as a structural engineer of the era.

 

The Penguin Pool harmoniously blends technical functionality with aesthetic appeal, designed with the deliberate purpose of providing visitors with a clear view into the penguins’ behavior. Departing from conventional enclosures, it integrates open viewing windows, nesting boxes within its structure, a glass-fronted diving tank, and an engaging revolving fountain. Swiftly recognized as a quintessential example of modernist architectural excellence, it exemplified the era’s emphasis on innovative materials, functional designs, and sleek lines. This recognition contributed to raising the prominence of Lubetkin and the Tecton Group, while also solidifying Arup’s reputation for pioneering advancements in the domain of cast-reinforced concrete. Over the following decades, countless visitors enjoyed watching the penguins without any bars in the way. As scientific knowledge of penguin care grew, however, the pool’s shortcomings became more obvious. Concrete wasn’t the healthiest material for penguins’ feet, and the animals were eventually moved to more spacious accommodations. Nonetheless, the Penguin Pool’s legacy endures, serving as a testament to the evolution of architecture and design.

danica o. kus captures interwoven spiral ramps of modernist penguin pool at london zoo
the pool embraces an elliptical pool at its core

danica o. kus captures interwoven spiral ramps of modernist penguin pool at london zoo
the structure also features two intertwined ramps

danica o. kus captures interwoven spiral ramps of modernist penguin pool at london zoo
the structure is crafter with reinforced concrete

penguin-pool-london-zoo-danica-o-kus-designboom-full-01

up-close view of the spiral ramps

danica o. kus captures interwoven spiral ramps of modernist penguin pool at london zoo
the design integrates stairs and ramps where for the penguins to explore

danica o. kus captures interwoven spiral ramps of modernist penguin pool at london zoo
the exterior of the Lubetkin Penguin Pool

penguin-pool-london-zoo-danica-o-kus-designboom-full-02

departing from conventional enclosures, the pool integrates open viewing windows

KEEP UP WITH OUR DAILY AND WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS
suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom

architectural photography (312)

architecture in london (246)

danica o. kus (11)

photography (375)

pools (110)

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5