Art Commission approves Zoo project

In a short meeting on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Art Commission reviewed just one application — and granted it unanimous final approval. The project, the creation of a new facade for the Philadelphia Zoo’s Impala Cafe, represents a “straightforward re-skinning” of the structure, said architect Joseph Powell.


He and the Zoo’s Vice President of facilities, Nina Bisbee, presented details and passed around samples.  The purpose of the work, they said, is to open-up and update the building and to advance the Zoo’s goals of being sustainable.


The plan calls for stripping down the building to its structural steel and then installing a weather barrier and covering it with a terra cotta rainscreen.


Commissioners Emmanuel Kelly and Jose Aminana commended the solution, with Kelly in particular citing the poor weatherization offered by Dryvit, which currently covers the building. Both commissioners offered some further ideas for material choices, which Commission Chair Sean Buffington encouraged the applicants to consider. The meeting concluded within 15 minutes.

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