How modern architecture and design sought to emancipate not just humans, but animals too...

  • The Penguin Pool by Berthold Lubetkin, London, England Photography by Gillfoto via Wikimedia Commons.

  • June 1936: Visitors feed the penguins at London Zoo. The Penguin Pool was designed by Berthold Lubetkin in 1933. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

  • Canopy on the North Gate (1936) by Berthold Lubetkin and Tecton, Regents Park Zoo, London. Credit: Steve Cadman, CC.

  • Penguin Pool, London Zoo, Regent's Park, London: early ketches. Credit: RIBA Collection.

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Join us for our latest online talk delving into the mid-Century art, architecture and design climate that spawned the De La Warr Pavilion. This talk is led by Filipa Ramos, live from Porto.

Modern architecture and design trusted the importance of their contribution to the emancipation and improvement of society. This also comprehended the reconception of animal dwellings. Such was the case of the renovation of the London Zoo during the early 1930s, a major architectural endeavour that involved key architects such as Berthold Lubetkin and the Tecton Group.

The functioning of whose structures were documented by László Moholy-Nagy’s film The New Architecture of the London Zoo. Commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for the exhibition “Modern Architecture in England” (1937), Moholy-Nagy documents the functioning of the zoo, offering a striking example of how the histories of architecture, art, film and exhibitions evolve hand-in-hand, constituting and influencing one another.

During this talk, Filipa Ramos will depart from an analysis of Moholy-Nagy’s film and additional documentation from the same period as the occasion to reflect on the role that modern architecture and cinema played in various traditions of exhibition, namely that of displaying nature.

Moholy-Nagy was a contemporary of the Pavilion’s architects Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff.  Their belief in that modern architecture and design could emancipate society extended to the care for animal life. The renovation of the London Zoo, documented by László Moholy-Nagy, is a leading example.  The film offers a striking example of how the histories of architecture, art, film, and exhibitions evolved hand-in-hand during the first half of the twentieth century.


Lisbon-born Filipa Ramos is a writer and curator with a PhD awarded from the School of Critical Studies at Kingston University, London. Her research, manifested in critical and theoretical texts, lectures, workshops and edited publications, focuses on how culture addresses ecology, attending to how contemporary art fosters relationships between nature and technology.

She is Director of the Contemporary Art Department of the city of Porto.

Furthermore, she is curator of the Art Basel Film sector and a founding curator of the online artists’ cinema Vdrome. Ongoing and upcoming projects include the arts, humanities and science festival The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish (since 2018) and “Persones Persons”, the 8th Biennale Gherdëina (2022), both with Lucia Pietroiusti.

In 2021, she co-curated “Bodies of Water”, the 13th Shanghai Biennale (with Andrés Jaque, Lucia Pietroiusti, Marina Otero Verzier and Mi You), and co-curated the group exhibition “Feet of Clay” at Porto’s City Gallery (with Chus Martinez). Previously, she curated the large exhibition project “Animalesque”, at Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden (Summer 2019) and BALTIC Gateshead (Winter 2020).

Ramos has extensive experience as an editor and publisher. She was Editor-in-Chief of art-agenda/e-flux (2013-20), Associate Editor of Manifesta Journal (2009-11) and contributed for Documenta 13 (2012) and 14 (2017). She authored Lost and Found (Silvana Editoriale, 2009) and edited Animals (Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Press, 2016).

Her upcoming book, The Artist as Ecologist, will be published by Lund Humphries in 2023.

She lectures extensively in the fields of contemporary art and ecology. She is Lecturer at the Master Programme of the Arts Institute of the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Basel, where she leads the Art and Nature seminars.

Filipa Tweets as @tweetfilipa.


Listing photo: © RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Booking information

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Eat before the show

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On the night: If you have pre-booked please come to the bar to order from the gig menu and sit at one of the reserved tables.

No re-entry

Please be aware that we operate no re-entry for gigs. This means that once you have entered the building, you cannot go out and re-enter. This policy is in line with other major music venues across the UK and put in place on police advice. No re-entry is clearly signposted as you come through security on the front door.
There is a fenced-off area on the terrace for people who go out to smoke or vape.

Staying locally

There are plenty of welcoming and good value B&Bs & boutique hotels in Bexhill. The De La Warr Pavilion regularly uses the following:

Travel information
  • By Rail
    Direct trains go from London Victoria, Brighton and Ashford to Bexhill.
    There are also trains from London Charing Cross, changing at St. Leonards Warrior Square and from London Bridge or Charing Cross going to Battle. Battle is only a short taxi journey away (15 mins approx).
    Visit for up-to-date train travel information.
  • Taxis
    Town Taxis:  01424 211 511
    Parkhurst Taxis:  01424 733 456
  • By Car
    If driving from the London area:
    Take the M25, then A21 to Hastings. Turn off at John‘s Cross and follow the signs to Bexhill.
    Take the A22 to Eastbourne, go across the Bishop roundabout to the A271 and follow the signs to Bexhill and the seafront. The De La Warr Pavilion is on the Marina.
    From the Brighton area:
    Follow the A27 out of Brighton until you arrive in Bexhill On Sea.
  • Parking
    Please be aware the Rother District car park outside the De La Warr Pavilion operates paid parking until 7pm. After this time parking is free.

Within the limits of this Grade One listed building, the De La Warr Pavilion strives to be fully accessible with a range of facilities to support your visit.

Assistance Dogs are permitted into the building.

Please contact the Box Office on to arrange a visit.

Facilities for disabled visitors

  • Ramped access at the front of the building
  • A low counter at the Box Office and  Information Desk
  • Disabled toilets on two floors
  • A lift to all floors
  • Accessible galleries on both floors
  • An accessible Café
  • Spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium for seated events
  • Ramped access in the auditorium for events during the day
  • Ramped access into the Studio
  • Two travel wheelchairs are available for use at the De La Warr Pavilion. To reserve, please call our box office and information desk on (01424) 229111 or ask a member of staff on arrival. The chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and are intended for use inside the Pavilion. Please contact us for more information.

Facilities for blind or visually-impaired

  • Large print season brochures

Facilities for the hard-of-hearing

  • An T-Switch induction loop in some areas of the auditorium (please indicate when booking as this facility is not available on the balcony)
  • British Sign Language interpretation tours of the building and exhibitions are available on request.