Old Bird House
International Wildlife Conservation Park
Bronx, NY

30,000 SF • 2787 SQ M

This adaptive reuse project for New York City’s International Wildlife Conservation Park (also known as the Bronx Zoo) is part of a master plan and restoration program for five Beaux Arts buildings, designed as animal exhibition spaces in 1895.

Important components of the project included: (1) restoration of key interior elements such as the ornamented trusses and monumental arches; (2) insertion of a second floor to nearly double the usable square footage; (3) design of a contemporary office space that serves the administrative needs of the Park; (4) introduction of new electrical and mechanical systems to create a modern office facility; (5) sympathetic minor building additions to complete the program; and (6) restoration of the ornamental façade & replacement of windows with energy efficient replicas.

The restoration included original cast-stone and terra cotta façade elements that were damaged or removed, as well as the insertion of a second floor. Many of the original interior elements, including the exposed steel trusses were retained. After sandblasting and painting, these gace the upper floor a sense of the original space. Office partitions were topped with glass privacy walls so that the trusses’ full spans could be appreciated. New electrical and mechanical systems gave it the capabilities of a modern office building, with all workstations wired for computers, and a room for a mainframe computer serving two administration buildings, with the capacity to accommodate a third.