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Zoological Enclosures at ZSL London Zoo: The Display of Animals Within the Anthropocene

Part 2 Dissertation 2021
Priyanka Shah
London South Bank University | UK
The dissertation aim is to understand changes in spatial and other design elements within the London zoo by identifying issues that relate philosophical concepts with specific architectural approaches to the so-called 'natural' environment. The research examines the representation of zoo animals within built habitats and questions whether animal-focused designs are indicative of an Anthropocentric epoch, passively moulding the ecology and geology of the earth, through animal and other conservation programmes.

'Standard-traditional' zoo design is investigated alongside current design developments that go beyond the caged enclosures and their theoretical presuppositions. Enclosures analysed and evaluated, include ‘Gorilla Kingdom’ and 'Penguin Beach' two enclosures proclaiming to be part of a strategy to provide an enlarged and enhanced animal environment. These case-studies are compared to their predecessors: ‘Gorilla House’ and ‘Penguin Pool’, two modern additions in the 1930’s by Berthold Lubetkin, which innovatively explored the use of new materials, such as reinforced concrete slabs as the main structural component. Knowledge gained from such past projects are then deployed in the analysis of Foster and Partner's redevelopment of Cedric Price’s ‘Snowdon Aviary’ as to its suitability and representation.

Priyanka Shah

Maria Theodorou
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