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Casson Pavilion as Zoo World at London Zoo 2007

Casson Pavilion as Zoo World at London Zoo 2007
Maguari, 8 Jun 2008
    • PAT
      London Zoo has some really ugly buildings doesn't it?
    • snowleopard
      Good point about the ugliness Pat. London Zoo is world famous, but in reality only fills 35 acres, has the brutally ugly Mappin Terraces and other poorly designed buildings, and yet is renowned worldwide. There are numerous zoos that are far superior to this one.
    • Maguari
      Old post, I realise, but I missed this first time round.

      Bit harsh to count acreage against a zoo, I think.

      'Brutally ugly'? I wouldn't go that far. And bear (no pun intended!) in mind that the hills of the Mappins are something of a London landmark, and London is a city that takes its landmarks seriously!

      But generally state of the art when they were built. London had major financial issues in the 90s so is a bit behind on its redevelopments but its getting there.

      Yup. That would be the long history of pioneering animal keeping, innovative (if not always long-term viable) exhibitry and valuable conservation and education work. Not to mention the fact that it is more involved in scientific reseach than any other UK zoo, and possibly than any other European zoo.

      Maybe, in some respects (certainly exhibit design). But that's no reason to run it into the ground. I hope you don't take this personally snowleopard but I just wanted to balance what appeared to be a very negative post!
    • snowleopard
      @Maguari: no worries mate! You and I have many healthy but friendly debates on the merits of zoo exhibits so fire away.:) By all accounts London Zoo has improved dramatically in the past few years, even though "Gorilla Kingdom" (its biggest financial renovation) has been regarded as a little bit of a disappointment. At one time the zoo was slammed repeatedly by Gerald Durrell, back in the days when London had a postage stamp collection, and it's difficult to believe but there was a point in the 1990's when London Zoo almost went extinct. It barely survived, and has grown to the point where there are now over a million guests once again.

      Is there a single brilliant exhibit inside London Zoo? Interesting question, and that is a debate all on its own as many people would say no. Is the zoo quite small? Certainly, which limits the ability to showcase large animals. That is where Whipsnade comes in, which gives large amounts of space to massive mammals. Are there ugly structures inside London Zoo? I suppose ugliness is subjective, but for me the Casson Pavilion and Mappin Terraces are incredibly ugly to look at.
    • Maguari
      You can add me to the list of people who find Gorilla Kingdom a disappointment!

      London should probably be aiming along the lines of Bristol - full of excellent exhibits for mostly smaller animals. London does have a bit more room, so can afford a few more larger animals, but Bristol's still a good model.

      In terms of brilliant exhibits; the highlights in design terms for me are the African Bird Safari (not a big exhibit but perfectly-formed - and using a historic building as well) and B.U.G.S. (nee Web of Life), which is a brilliant study of biodiversity and invertebrate life. I'm very impressed with the remodelled Clore Pavilion and Bird House as well.

      And while I can take your point on the Casson (though I can guarantee there'll be a point in the future when this architecture is back in fashion and everyone will be crowing over it!) I still don't see (the modern version of) the Mappins as ugly! :)
    • mark77
      I hope people are kinder to you at 96 years old.

      Most concrete tower blocks built at the same time as the 1965 Casson Pavilion have been allowed to be pulled down. London Zoo has a duty to repair and maintain this one.
    • Maguari
      Not sure how obvious this is from my comments above, but I agree with this 100%. Once something's gone you can't get it back, and don't forget in the post-war years huge areas of Victorian housing was being got rid of for being run down and ugly. Now the remnants of those housing areas command a premium for 'original Victorian features'. Tastes change, and even if this never becomes popular again taste shouldn't influence what we choose to protect. See also Dudley!
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