A 1,400-square-foot open-air pavilion set along the zoo's boardwalk, which takes visitors through exhibits on animals and habitats, including a newly rehabilitated pond showcasing aquatic life.
Design concept and solution:
The architects conceived the pavilion as both an organic form and a craft object, at once natural and manmade. Like a piece of woodworking blown up to an architectural scale, the structure explores the properties of wood—and its limits. Studio Gang used a woodworking lab to find the greatest curve that prefabricated laminated wood pieces can hold and still stay intact. The firm joined the curved pieces into a honeycomb-like lattice whose global curvature recalls the shape of a tortoiseshell. Semi-opaque fiberglass pods fitted into the gaps left by the wood form a membrane-like roof while bringing light into the pavilion.
Studio Gang Architects
1212 N. Ashland Ave. – Ste. 212
Chicago, IL 60622
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Completion Date: June 2010
Gross square footage: 1,400