Frederic Schwartz Architects


San Diego, California

2003 AIA Chicago Interior Design Award
2002 AIA San Diego Interior Design Award
2002 National Retail Association First Prize: Big Store of the Year

San Diego Zoo Stores

The Zoological Society of San Diego is a conservation, education and recreation organization dedicated to the reproduction, protection and exhibition of not only animals in their habitats but also over 700,000 plants in a variety of bioclimates.

The old Jungle Bazaar Gift Shop, the zoo’s flagship store located at the exit of the world famous park, was over 20 years old, rather worn, out of date and in need of a new image to promote the zoo’s mission. Working closely with the zoo’s staff , we designed a new open, airy environment to display a diverse range of products from the zoo’s merchandise divisions.

Located in two existing buildings flanking the exiting path, the 11,000 sf facility is divided into a children’s store in the smaller 3,900 sf building (Store 1) and an adult store in the larger 6,700 sf pavilion (Store 2). A large canopy hovering over the central portion of a 1,900 sf arcade, replaces a wood trellis and provides a new “gateway” for the zoo.

The dark, ‘woodsy’, interiors have been replaced with a new palette of off - white wall surfaces. Light wood slat ceilings incorporating mechanical and lighting fixtures define a single continuous plane. Ceilings under pitched roofs are opened and the wood structure painted and lighted to emphasize their dramatic volume. In Store 2 a new, large shed skylight introduces daylight to the interior of the store and highlights a central bamboo exhibit feature. The bamboo environment is carried through to a continuous graphic frieze surrounding the main sales space. The graphic frieze gives way to large scale murals of bamboo and grass habitats. Brilliantly colored panels of plant life accent the walls of the rotunda. Printed messages relating to the zoo’s mission of conservation and sustainability are interwoven throughout the frieze and mural elements. The original quarry tile floors in both stores and the adjoining arcade are restored and new tiles installed at areas where floor levels are lowered or modified. Bright green carpet tiles in an elevated area in the children’s store bring the environmental motif to the floor plane. New store fixtures were designed to display a variety of products including ethnic crafts, fine gifts, zoo-specific media products, garden/botanic goods, gourmet products, puzzles, books, jewelry, apparel, accessories and plush toys. The elemental, evocative, environmental images surrounding the sales areas provide a fresh, uncluttered arena for the display and sale of selected merchandise.



Photo: Doug Snower Photography







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