New nature boardwalk by Studio Gang at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago

Studio Gang,

Chicago, USA,

Free Time, urban park,


Chicago’s Studio Gang has redesigned the nature boardwalk at the city’s historic zoo, making it self-sufficient and an asset to the city

New nature boardwalk by Studio Gang at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago Studio Gang has redesigned the boardwalk at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, giving it a new look, transforming a romantic Victorian pond dating back to 1907 into a place connecting contemporary city-dwellers with nature. The entire project offers benefits that go beyond the visual, as the area has been radically transformed, so that the 14 acre or 5.6 hectare Lincoln Park is no longer just a green bubble on the city’s edge. There are no more animals to be stared at behind fences, but there are plenty of migratory species to be discovered. The park has become a place where people can feel like they are surrounded by nature even in the city, without having to undertake a long day trip. All the animals that gravitate around the area benefit from the forced circulation of water, which makes the pond a much better environment for them than before, a precious microclimatic and environmental resource for the area. The functional conversion of the pond was performed to achieve urban goals, transforming it into a reservoir for stormwater collected in the city, backing up the city’s drainage system. This makes the park economically self-sufficient, with major benefits for management and use by residents. An important factor in improving usability for residents is the redesign of the park’s pathways with wooden boardwalks, offering panoramic views and numerous surprises of naturalistic interest. The icon new building that makes an important new addition to Lincoln Park Zoo is a bentwood pavilion with fibreglass domes, a structure that improves the quality of the central meeting-point and of time spent in the open air in the park.

Fabrizio Orsini  

Architect: Studio Gang Architects
Program manager, coordinating engineer, and master planner: Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Inc.
Project architect: Shaw Sustainable Design Solutions of Illinois
Landscape architect: WRD Environmental
Location: Chicago
Status: Built 2010
Client: Lincoln Park Zoo
Type: Civic
Size: 14 acres
Fabricators: Atomic Props, Shelton Lam and Deck, Sunrise Fiberglass
Hydrology: Christopher B. Burke Engineering
Pavilion contractor: Cosgrove Construction, Inc.
Subcontractor: Fox River Components
Structural engineering: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
General contractor: Pepper Construction
Fabricator: RLD Company


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