Award of Merit - Cultural

The Great Bear Wilderness exhibit is the new 7-acre home for Brookfield Zoo’s collection of polar bears, brown bears, bison and bald eagles.

Photo: Mcshane-fleming Studios
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Due to the wide variety of animals the exhibit houses, there were many animal program considerations to adhere to throughout construction.

Ragnar Benson Construction worked closely with the construction team and animal program team to completely understand the needs and requirements of each animal and to incorporate them in every detail of the exhibit.

Challenges that arose due to these requirements were overcome with open communication.

Construction meetings were vital in understanding and achieving project goals, especially since this project contained unusual features such as rockwork exhibits, themed environments and a state-of-the-art pool filtration system.

Coordination meetings were held weekly, and the zoo construction team was encouraged to voice concerns openly so that the project was delivered to everyone’s satisfaction.

Key Players

Developer/Owner: Chicago Zoological Society, Chicago
GC & CM: Ragnar Benson Construction LLC, Park Ridge, Ill.
Architect: Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets Inc., St. Louis
Civil Engineer: Hancock Engineering, Westchester, Ill.
Structural Engineer: Alper Audi Inc., St. Louis
MEP Engineer: X-nth Inc., Milwaukee