flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Goettsch Partners completes Lincoln Park Zoo’s Pepper Family Wildlife Center

billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Cultural Facilities

Goettsch Partners completes Lincoln Park Zoo’s Pepper Family Wildlife Center

The project doubles the size of the previous lion habitat.

By David Malone, Managing Editor | November 19, 2021
Pepper Family Wildlife Center great hall
Photos: © Tom Harris

Goettsch Partners has recently announced the completion of the $41 million renovation, restoration, and expansion of the Pepper Family Wildlife Center at Lincoln Park Zoo. The facility is home to a pride of African Lions, Canada Lynx, red pandas, and snow leopards.

The 54,000-sf facility nearly doubles the size of the previous lion habitat and provides increased transparency with a more immersive experience for visitors while restoring the architectural integrity of the original landmarked building. The habitat focuses on providing choices for the animals and enhanced wellbeing, from thermal comfort zones for heating and cooling to intricate rock work and trees for climbing.

Pepper Family Wildlife Center aerial

The original building, located at the heart of Lincoln Park Zoo, was originally completed in 1912 and designated a Chicago Landmark in 2005. The new lion habitat spans the full northern side of the building with the design informed by data collected by the zoo over the last several years on lion behavior and space use to understand their preferences.

Large 1 1/2”-thick glass panels provide expansive views of the outdoor lion space. The savanna-style habitat includes detailed rock work to introduce climbing features and expand environmental options for the lions while providing embedded heating and cooling elements for climate control. Tree structures and deadfall are made from trees certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Food zip lines, simulating prey, provide an enrichment opportunity for the lions.

Pepper Family Wildlife Center viewing alcove

The building’s design facilitates viewing from the Lion Loop, a sunken elliptical path leading visitors down from the TAWANI Great Hall into the center of the habitat. The loop provides visitors the opportunity to view lions from all around, even through the skylights overhead. Additionally, a demonstration training wall allows visitors to view the lions working with zoo staff to participate in their care.

Goettsch Partners designed the project in collaboration with Seattle-based zoo exhibit specialists PJA.

Pepper Family Wildlife Center Lion Loop

Pepper Family Wildlife Center at dusk

Related Stories

Cultural Facilities | Jan 18, 2022

A building in Times Square aspires to be a marketing and arts tool

The 580-ft TSX Broadway will have several LED signs on its exterior, and host an existing 27,000-sf theater that was hoisted 30 ft above street level. 

Cultural Facilities | Dec 16, 2021

Museums and other cultural spaces reconsider how to serve their communities

Efforts to raise capital for cultural buildings became necessary during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Giants 400 | Nov 19, 2021

2021 Cultural Facilities Giants: Top architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. cultural facilities sector

Gensler, AECOM, Buro Happold, and Arup top BD+C's rankings of the nation's largest cultural facilities sector architecture, engineering, and construction firms, as reported in the 2021 Giants 400 Report.

Cultural Facilities | Nov 17, 2021

Henning Larsen-designed Shaw Auditorium opens at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The project celebrated its grand opening as part of HKUST’s thirtieth anniversary celebration.

Cultural Facilities | Oct 19, 2021

Niagara Falls is getting a bigger Welcome Center

The GWWO Architects-designed building will mostly sit on the site of the center it replaces.

Giants 400 | Aug 30, 2021

2021 Giants 400 Report: Ranking the largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S.

The 2021 Giants 400 Report includes more than 130 rankings across 25 building sectors and specialty categories.

Resiliency | Aug 19, 2021

White paper outlines cost-effective flood protection approaches for building owners

A new white paper from Walter P Moore offers an in-depth review of the flood protection process and proven approaches.

Cultural Facilities | Aug 2, 2021

A new venue for the San Diego Symphony’s outdoor performances opens this week

Rady Shell at Jacobs Park was funded almost entirely by private donors.

boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: