Gorilla House

Elements area



Scope note(s)

  • The initiative for the Gorilla House followed the acquisition of two young Congolese gorillas, Mok and Moina. It was built 1932-1933, brief by Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell, Secretary, and Dr Geoffrey Marr Vevers, Superintendent; Tecton (Berthold Lubetkin and Godfrey Samuel), architects; Christiani and Nielsen Limited (Ove Arup, Chief Engineer), builders; revolving wall and roof made by J and E Hall Limited. It cost £4,060. It was altered 1955 and later. It is Grade I listed. Tecton was introduced via Solly Zuckerman, then a Research Anatomist at the Zoo, and a friend of Godfrey Samuel, one of the firm's partners. Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell suggested a building with convertible open caging to allow the gorillas fresh air in the summer and the public the opportunity to see them in the winter. To meet this brief Tecton carried out extensive technical research and negotiated the details with Zoo staff. The heating and ventilation systems were designed to ensure a controlled climate. Protection from the elements and from human germs in cold weather were important for the health of the gorillas. In 1939 the building was adapted to house an elephant and then, in 1955, to house Kodiak bears. It was used for chimpanzees from 1963 and as a breeding colony for apes until 1990 when use of the southern half was abandoned and a koala exhibit was formed, only to be closed in 1992. The Gorilla House was remodelled in 2003 and used for Aye Aye, then in 2011 for Fruit Bats.

Source note(s)

  • The Buildings of London Zoo

Display note(s)

    Hierarchical terms

    Gorilla House

    Gorilla House

      Equivalent terms

      Gorilla House

        Associated terms

        Gorilla House

          3 Archival description results for Gorilla House

          3 results directly related Exclude narrower terms
          Gorilla House
          SEC/9/2/25/15 · Item · 1932
          Part of ZSL Secretaries

          General notes on the Gorilla House for the newly acquired Gorillas, Moina and Mok