Played hooky this afternoon, and walked over in Lincoln Park to see the new Urban Oasis, as the prairie restoration and redesign of the south of the Lincoln Park Zoo is being called. So pretty, even though a lot of the plants haven’t filled in yet. Studio Gang did the work, with Chicago architect Jeanne Gang the leading force.
Enter Studio Gang, the local firm that has built many of the city’s recent landmarks, including the Aqua condo tower and the new media center at Columbia College. With a mission to turn the 19th-century urban park from a city-tap fed water source into a natural habitat boasting a vibrant “pond life”, the firm set out to recreate the landscape, through accessible pathways embedded with educational pavilions and exhibit design. In essence, the holistic scheme combines the natural habitat with captivating (but not overwhelming) architecture.
First came the ecological considerations. The firm deepened the pond for better oxygenation, building a surrounding watershed and integrating plant shelves for filtering runoff. Then came the built aspect of the project: Studio Gang devised a winding boardwalk made of recycled plastic milk bottles and featuring educational kiosks. This is a place, after all, where elementary school kids will perform pH tests on the soil and test water quality.
It’s also a place that bicyclists, yogis and the general public will enjoy thanks to *the brilliant pavilion on the boardwalk. The tortoise shell–inspired structure is made of prefab wooden parts, milled and assembled in a self-supporting arch that eschews columns. Uplit by the boardwalk’s recessed ground lights, the structure glows at night like honeycomb lanterns.
(click here to continue reading Azure :: Jeanne Gang’s brilliant pavilion for a Chicago zoo.)
I took some photos with my Nikon, but haven’t processed them yet, so iPhone photos1 will have to suffice for now.
De Zeen Design Magazine has more details of the structure, if you are interested.Footnotes:
- Hipstamatic, natch [↩]