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Architecture & Design Magazine

Tortoise Shell Pavilion at Lincoln Park Zoo by Studio Gang

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Parametric pavilion design inspired by the tortoise shell by Studio Gang Architects

This nature pavilion mutates a picturesque urban pond from the 19th century into an ecological habitat pulsing with life. The Tortoise shell pavilion passes through various educational zones that explicate the different animals, plants, and habitat found in each.

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With the design’s improvements to water quality, hydrology, landscape, accessibility, and shelter, the site is able to function as an outdoor tortoise shell classroom in which the co-existence of natural and urban surroundings is demonstrated.

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The tortoise shell pavilion integrated into the boardwalk sequence provides shelter for  open-air classes on the site inspired from the tortoise shell itself; its laminated structure consists of prefabricated, bent-wood members and a series of interconnected fiberglass pods that give global curvature to the surface.

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Firstly, are the ecological considerations, the firm enhanced the pond for better oxygenation, building a surrounding watershed and integrating plant shelves for filtering runoff. Then the built aspect of the project, Studio Gang devised a tortoise shell pavilion made of recycled plastic milk bottles and featuring educational kiosks.

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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 people will enjoy; the tortoise shell–inspired structure is made of prefabricated wooden parts, milled and assembled in self-supporting arches that eschews columns.

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The structure glows at night like honeycomb lanterns that emitting from the recessed ground lights of the tortoise shell pavilion.Peoples Gas provided funding for the shell construction and operation of the Peoples Gas Education Pavilion in the South Pond area of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Designed and built by Studio Gang.

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Project Credits:

Studio Gang Architects
The Peoples Gas Light & Coke Company

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