Carlson Cottage, originally known as the Men’s and Ladies’ Comfort Station, designed by prominent 19th century architect, Joseph Lyman Silsbee, served as public restroom facility in Lincoln Park Zoo. Located immediately to the south of the historic Café Brauer, both of these structures were designated as Chicago Landmarks in 2004. Built in 1888 the Victorian-era building is constructed of solid brick and stone with a shingle roof.

Professional Services

The building, which had been closed for 40 years, was put back into service in 1995 to support the needs of the zoos volunteer gardening program. Rehabilitation efforts were initiated in 2003. Various public and private historic preservation grant applications funded the renovation, including a prestigious “Save America’s Treasures’ grant administered by the National Park Service Department of the Interior.

Klein and Hoffman was retained by the prime architect to provide structural analysis, design, consultation, document review and construction administration services related to the renovation.
The scope of services provided included:

• Review and study of the Architect’s set of progress drawings to obtain background information in order to provide a better understanding of the scope of the restoration effort.
• Review of available field information.
• Performance of field visits to assess existing conditions and verify the general scope of work as required in order to evaluate the structural adequacy of members, connections and remaining structural elements.
• Development of structural calculations, as required, to verify the adequacy of structural elements and overall (and local) stability of the structure.
• Design of the required framing and development of the necessary reinforcement for the roof and chimney structure.
• Preparation of structural drawings and calculations required for permit acquisition.
• Performance of site visits during construction.
• Review of shop drawings, and submittals; and responding to requests for information during construction.
• Provision of additional details necessitated by field conditions.

No longer a building in decay, the cottage has been restored to its original exterior appearance through the replacement of the current asphalt shingle roof and modern windows with historically appropriate materials, along with cleaning and stabilization of the existing structural fabric.

2001 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL

Historic Preservation
Structural Rehab / Adaptive Reuse

01/2003 - 08/2003

Homa Ghaemi, Principal
Terry McDonald, Associate Principal