Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, designed by Studio Gang Arcgitects, is a project that transforms a picturesque urban pond from the 19th century into an ecological habitat buzzing with life. With the design’s improvements to water quality, hydrology, landscape, accessibility, and shelter, the site is able to function as an outdoor classroom in which the co-existence of natural and urban surroundings is demonstrated.
A new boardwalk circumscribing the pond passes through various educational zones that explicate the different animals, plants, and habitat found in each. A pavilion integrated into the boardwalk sequence provides shelter for open-air classrooms on the site. Inspired by the tortoise shell, its laminated structure consists of prefabricated, bent-wood members and a series of interconnected fiberglass pods that give global curvature to the surface.