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Building Conservation Associates

Bronx Zoo

Location: Bronx, New York 
Original Architect: Heins & LaFarge 
Year Built: 1899-1910 

Originally known as the New York Zoological Society, the Bronx Zoo opened its doors to the public on November 8, 1899, and for more than 120 years, it has been one of New York City's major cultural attractions. BCA has been involved in several projects at the Bronx Zoo.

Astor Court
Astor Court, the historic center of the Zoo, consists of raised, landscaped terraces, two grand stairs leading up to the Court, and an ensemble of the Zoo’s original Beaux-Arts buildings sited around the central Sea Lion pool. Five of the limestone, brick, and terra-cotta buildings were constructed to designs by the noted architectural firm of Heins & La Farge between 1899 and 1910; the sixth building was designed by the architect Henry D. Whitfield in 1922. The formal neo-classical plan of the Court is symmetrical and longitudinal. One of the few intact examples in New York City of the City Beautiful movement to survive from the early twentieth century, Astor Court is a designated New York City historic landmark.

This project involved the complete rehabilitation of Astor Court to restore historic elements and make modifications to bring the Court to contemporary standards. BCA was the restoration consultant, overseeing the restoration design. BCA conducted a conditions assessment, performed investigative probes and field tests, and developed construction documents for the restoration scope. BCA performed preservation design review of new elements and also provided construction administration services.

Lion House
The Lion House, located at the southwest corner of Astor Court, was designed by Heins & LaFarge and completed in 1903. Constructed of limestone, terra cotta and Roman ironspot brick with a copper roof, it is a designated New York City landmark.

This project involved a complete rehabilitation of the exterior envelope. As the historic preservation and conservation consultant, BCA conducted archival research, performed a hands-on conditions assessment of the historic fabric, designed and oversaw probes, conducted field and laboratory materials testing, performed preservation design review, created restoration construction documents and provided construction administration services for the masonry restoration work.

Rockefeller Fountain
The Rockefeller Fountain was designed by the Italian sculptor Biagio Catella and constructed in 1872; originally it stood in the Piazza Cavour in Lake Como, Italy. William Rockefeller bought the fountain and gave it to the Zoo, where it was installed in 1903. Today the fountain, a New York City landmark, is sited in the gardens just inside the Fordham Road Gate.

This project involved the complete restoration of the fountain. As the restoration consultant, BCA
performed a conditions survey, field cleaning tests, and laboratory analyses of the historic materials. BCA created restoration construction documents and provided construction administration services during the masonry restoration work.