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Penguin Beach

The biggest penguin pool in England recreates a South American beach landscape in the heart of London to provide a comfortable home for the zoo’s colonies of Humboldt and Macaroni penguins.

Our client’s challenge

The Zoological Society of London wanted a pool that was four times bigger and three times deeper than the old one. The solution was to build a 1,200m² pool that holds 450,000 litres of water.

Our approach

Despite the small size of this project compared to the much larger ones that WSP undertakes, it presented some unique challenges. Ground conditions were difficult on account of the numerous protected trees that lie within close proximity of the pool, and durability and aesthetic aspects needed careful consideration while working to a tight budget and programme.

Outcome

The project was immediately acclaimed in the media, and perhaps more importantly by the penguins themselves. Usually the birds take a while to acclimatise to new surroundings, but the Zoological Society of London reported that they were happily exploring their new facilities as soon as they hopped out of their transport cages. 

The new pool also allows visitors to get closer than ever to the action with stunning underwater viewing windows where they can watch the penguins swimming beneath the surface.