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HomeModern House PlanGoettsch Companions designs new residence for lions at Lincoln Park Zoo

Goettsch Companions designs new residence for lions at Lincoln Park Zoo


Combining historic preservation, zoo design, and the technical experience that advanced facades demand, the Pepper Household Wildlife Middle on the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago gives an enhanced customer expertise whereas offering a cushty, state-of-the-art residence for the zoo’s resident lions.

Designed by Chicago-based Goettsch Companions in collaboration with zoo design specialists PJA, the group was tasked with doubling the scale of the zoo’s lion habitat whereas accounting for each lion strikes and animal consolation within the expanded habitat within the 110-year-old constructing. The renovation additionally wanted to fulfill requirements set by Fee on Chicago Landmarks for work on historic properties.

“[This] required a cautious steadiness of restoring its defining historic options and designing new, distinctively fashionable parts,” mentioned Andrew Fox, an affiliate at Goettsch Companions.

view of a lion enclosure at a zoo
Expansive glass panels enable guests a better look into the expanded lion enclosure. (Tom Harris)

Masking 54,000 sq. toes, the venture consists of out of doors viewing shelters, new animal care amenities, assembly and occasion areas, in addition to a Lion Loop that allows guests to view lions from the center of the habitat. The brand new circulation allows guests to expertise the lions in a extra private method.

The lion home was landmarked in 2005, requiring any future  work to be accomplished throughout the Chicago Landmark tips. Nevertheless, the rules enable for some flexibility, so the design group prioritized areas during which they may function with extra freedom. The architects opened up the masonry of the north and south partitions, and on the east and west facades, they renovated the roof and clerestories over the constructing’s entrances. The architects needed to exchange the steps on the faces with accessible entryways, however bumped into challenges with Chicago’s Landmarks Fee as this meant that these faces can be considerably altered. The ensuing design offered a “historic sense of entry” based on Fox, and met improved accessibility wants. 

overhead view of a large zoo enclosure with the chicago skyline in the distance
The brand new Pepper Household Wildlife Middle covers 54,000 sq. toes in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. (Tom Harris)

Additional restoration work centered on brick, stone, and terra-cotta parts of the home. Staff changed terra-cotta soffits, whereas the copper gutters, the clay-tiled roof, and clerestory home windows all required restore work. The home windows, previously operable, had been mounted as improved behind-the-scenes heating and cooling programs had been put in in order to not additional disturb the corridor’s historic character. 

interior of a historic zoo enclosure with vaulted ceilings
Cantilevered glass enclosures prolong into the historic corridor. (Tom Harris)

The brand new habitat space is extra clear than the earlier one, with giant stretches of glass enclosures permitting guests clearer and nearer views of the lions.

Goettsch Companions Principal Patrick Loughran describes the glass enclosures on the constructing’s north facet as “innies and outies.” The ‘innies’—so known as as a result of they welcome guests in—had been shaped by half-inch triple-laminated glass that spanned as much as 7 by 14 toes and weighed tons. Pepper Development had to make use of a 40-ton hydraulic crane and a pneumatic suction-boom manipulator to put in the panels. The ‘outies’ cantilever over the ground of the pre-existing corridor. Staff needed to shore the ground—unique to the 1912 constructing—from under because of the weight of the glass panels. 

The glass surrounding the enclosures was constructed with 1 ½-inch-thick laminated glass panels positioned into a stainless-steel perimeter body. The glass—manufactured by Agnora Architectural Glass North America—was made by combining three half-inch low-iron lites of glass with a .09-inch Trosiful ultra-clear PVB interlayer.

“Working with zoo employees, a horizontal load of two,280 kilos was decided because the equal pressure to a 500-pound lion impacting the enclosure at 25 miles per hour with a quarter-second time step,” mentioned Loughran. Additionally they set the utmost deflection at 3 inches.

view of a lion in an enclosure through glass
Digitally-printed white dots forestall chook strikes. (Tom Harris)

Rice Engineering accomplished the glass design, with their modeling of a concentrated load permitting for the outboard lite to be damaged. The design group raised issues over curler wave distortion and spontaneous breakage from nickel sulfide contaminates as a result of the glass wanted to be tempered to be stronger. Agnora measured glass heat-treatment distortion, confirming the glass’s flatness, and examined heat-soaking verification, minimizing the chance of nickel sulfide contaminates. 

The ultimate consideration for glass design got here on the request of the zoo officers who raised issues over chook strikes. Timber had been seen on each side of the enclosures, making them significantly liable to chook strikes, based on Loughran. After researching quite a few laminated-glass merchandise, the design group discovered restricted choices given the scale of the glass panels they had been working with. A surface-applied sample of white dots was digitally printed on the glass, with 3/16-inch diameter dots spaced two-by-two inches throughout the panels. The Dip-Tech inks printed on the glass have a excessive environmental resistance, permitting them to be printed on the outside of the glass. 



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