A challenge for this small-town zoo is to not be overlooked by patrons with larger options in nearby Chicago and South Bend. The Michigan City Parks Department wanted to strongly define the zoo entrance and move it from a hazardous crossing at a bend in the road.
Timothy Berneche and Fanning Howey Landscape Architect Jeff Bolinger created a solution integrating architecture with landscape to create a strong sense of place, with an angled trellis playing off building’s corner tower. The building was an addition to an existing animal diet kitchen and picked up the kitchen’s painted accent stripe with lower maintenance and subtler pre-colored masonry double-stripe.
The building houses meeting rooms and a gift shop on the main level. The gift shop gives the zoo a place to generate revenue without patrons having to necessarily enter the zoo. The corner tower has an observation room at the top for security, accessible by a spiral stair that also becomes an attractive (yet gated) element in the gift shop.
The project received the Outstanding Project Award from the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association for 2006.
Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc. is the firm or record, and Timothy Berneche is the licensed architect of record.