Art Commission approves Zoo project

    • Art Commission May 1, 2013
      Art Commission May 1, 2013
    • new impala cafe facade original
      new impala cafe facade original
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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.

About the author

JoAnn Greco, writer

JoAnn Greco writes about parks and recreation, preservation, public space, and architecture for PlanPhilly. Her articles on design, cities, and the built environment have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Washington Post, Canada's Globe and Mail, National Parks, Metropolis, Interiors, Art & Antiques,, Planning, Next American City, Urban Land, and Hospitality Design. In addition, she has written for dozens of other consumer, custom, and trade outlets, from Brides to The Wall Street Journal, from AARP to Wine Enthusiast. She also owns and edits, an online magazine dedicated to urban destinations.

JoAnn was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Philadelphia in 1991. She has lived in Rittenhouse Square, Old City, and now owns a home in Bella Vista.

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