Reconstructing Existing Building Façade to Respond to Historic Context

In 2010 the Safari Grill Restaurant was rebranded as BZ Red Hots. As part of this rebranding process a program for upgrading the appearance of the exterior was begun in 2010. Over the course of the building’s 70 years of service it was repaired, rehabilitated and remodeled to the point where the original historic fabric of the building was so mediated that the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency agreed to allow a contemporary facade redesign.

ICA, working closely with Brookfield Zoo staff, developed a number of options using a variety of natural materials to upgrade and unify the overall appearance of the building. Materials studied for consideration were reviewed based on compatibility with the materials used on recent new construction, overall performance, ease of maintenance and longevity. The decided upon palette of materials included cut field stone, new face brick, natural stucco, and engineered wood products. These were combined to create an attractive, appropriately scaled facade that will last for generations.