Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Old Buildings

Even before the (first?) mural that an art student did at an exhibit, I had similar thoughts.   Those thoughts first went to Goober's (Bairds Tapir) and Orkney's (Grey Seal) homes.  These two live on the East side of the Pachyderm Building and both enclosures needed a paint job.  For Orkney's my friend Lee and I envisioned a wonderful and colorful Pacific Coast under water mural with Octopus, Cod, Kelp and other native beings and plants.  Instead he got the sky with clouds?   For Goober,  we thought a mural of some nice Banana Plants or Palm Trees, with punches of color brought in by flowers, much like the purple ones already in his area.   His home remains unpainted even thought Lee offered to pay for it over two years ago and we both offered to do the painting.  With his current medical issues I don't think painting his area now would be in his best interest,  I'm just relaying some back story that goes with the theme of this post.  In fact I think it was in poor taste of the Zoo to allow the artist who did the mural outside Goober's area to use aerosol paint so close to the opening of his enclosure, adjacent to his pool.  The paint splattered and the fumes are dangerous.  So much so that the artist wore a ventilated mask.  Go figure that thought process.

I have thought the Lion House, Pachyderm Building and the Chimps, all were in need of a good paint job.  The Lion House area did get some touch-up work last year, but the volunteers did such a messy job, it actually looked worse.   

There are Zoo purists (I've come across on specifically)  that think Zoo's (SFZoo has been among the named), should demolish all these old buildings and build new state of the art exhibits.  Sure ideally all captive animals would live in sanctuary type settings, but realistically because of financial constraints and Animal residents, that really isn't a logical approach.  In my opinion as Visitor,  upgrading and "sprucing" things up is.  I have voiced my opinion on upgrades while on my crusade to get Wishbone Grass (that's right, I will never stop mentioning this disrespect).  For the "sprucing" up and generally making older areas look better, I think the Zoo has made a good start with what they have done with the Anteater and Bobcat exhibits, now they need to work on the bigger blocks of concrete.  

The Lion House and the Pachyderm Building,  old Buildings, two of which have tiled lettering identifying the structures.   I think adding the word "Historic" in tiles above would bring a Landmark vibe to them rather than people just looking at them and thinking they are old and broken down.  

Now, for the paint jobs.  They have been doing some work outside the Pachyderm Building for over a week, and now there are paint color samples on it.   Sorry, but who is choosing these colors?  shades of Red and Blue?  Awful.  Buildings, especially this big need to be more natural and neutral colors.  Khaki or Light Green.  This way, eventually they can mural in some trees or banana plants.   Same goes for the Chimp House.  Its time to get rid of that awful Giants logo, that should have been done in washable paint to begin with.

The Zoo Staffer Justin who was a Keeper in Carnivores, but now works in the Commissary I think, has done art in various places around the Zoo, they should get his opinion on this, as I've seen his work and he has a talent for this.  He may even be able to do the tree murals on the face of the buildings.
Note to Zoo- Please do not paint the Pachyderm Building one of the awful and inappropriate colors shown.

One the upside of this project, at least it will give the Chimps something to entertain themselves with.  Its a bit hard to tell, but this photo is of Cobby (male Chimp on right) watching the going's on across the path at the backside of the Pachyderm Building.  He seemed very interested :)

Apologies for the odd "highlighted" areas, not sure what's with the Blogger tonight.

UPDATE:  Looks like they have gone with yellow for the Pachyderm Building.   I like Yellow as a color, I just don't think its the right choice to make this building look its best.  A richer creamery color would have been better, but I'm not the one picking the color.  I will add this photo that I took the other day (day after I wrote this post).  An art deco building in the Marina painted both my suggested colors and with greenery in front of it, mimicking what I suggested eventually painting on the building. 


  1. The paint samples are horrible...either re-do in the original colors and neutral with banana leaves or something. I saw a recent Jack Hanna show in which he went to the London Zoo. They have upgraded, it's a gorgeous zoo... but they kept the historical bldgs there and made them look new again. History is important esp. with our zoo that is 80 yrs old. The London Zoo is over 100 yrs old. Yes, let's let Justin give some input!!!

    1. @Andie- Yea who knows with that paint job. In fact the other day I got a photo of the colors I suggested and will post. ... History is important. During the 80 year anniversary they had great signs up in certain areas with Historic photos and information about that particular space. They should have never taken them down. Showing the history adds to the allure and character of a place. A few years ago I suggested to the Director that they fix the Mother Building and use it as a History Museum. Old Photos, information, ect. It would be wonderful. I'd also like to see photos of all the Big Cats that have lived in the Lion House up on the walls there. They had two, "Trouble' and "Old George" I think it was, but they took them down last year. I thought they were going to paint and thats why but I never saw anything happen inside.

  2. Get rid of the Giant's Logo, we are all not fans and it looks crappy.

  3. @Andie- That faded SF does look crappy and someone always comments on it. It should have been painted in non-toxic washable paints to being with.


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