Topped by a laser-cut canopy, the project forms a striking gateway to one of Chicago’s most popular free attractions
A light dusting of snow didn’t stop Lincoln Park Zoo from officially cutting the ribbon Thursday on a new welcome pavilion designed by Chicago’s Ross Barney Architects. Known officially as the Searle Visitor Center, the $9.3 million project creates a bold gateway to zoo while improving guest amenities.
Essentially two buildings bridged by a laser-cut shade canopy inspired by organic forms found in nature, the facility houses new restrooms, stroller rentals, members services, a members lounge, informational kiosk, and other back-of-house offices. It replaces an older, silo-like guest services pavilion built in the mid 1990s.
The new structure is flanked by landscape improvements such as native plantings, boulder-inspired benches, and permeable pavers. A bronze statue memorializing the zoo’s famous—or rather infamous—Adelor the lion also makes its return following a temporary absence during construction.
The Searle Visitor Center is part of a larger $125 million capital improvement campaign which includes projects such as a new polar bear and penguin house, arctic tundra habitat, macaque forrest, and a makeover of the landmarked 1912 Lion House. It represents Lincoln Park Zoo’s first major “people building” in recent years.
- A closer look at Lincoln Park Zoo’s new welcome pavilion [Curbed Chicago]
- New visitor center headed to Lincoln Park Zoo [Curbed Chicago]
- Previous Lincoln Park coverage [Curbed Chicago]