Architect: Legat Architects, Inc.
Location: Matteson, Illinois
Construction Manager: Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.
Technology/Audio-visual/Security/Geothermal Feasibility Consultant: KJWW Engineering Consultants
MEP/Structural/Civil Engineer: Globetrotters
Photographs: James Steinkamp
Designed by Legat Architects, Inc. of Chicago, Illinois, the 122,000sf Colin Powell Middle School is an academic facility that serves grades 6-8 for Illinois School District 159. According to the architect, “The design of Colin Powell Middle School responds to the client’s desire to provide a progressive symbol of education to its students and community. Energy efficiency, environmental conscientiousness, and openness were all driving factors in the design.” More images and description after the break.
Elementary School District 159 wanted a new middle school to unify all students from the four communities it serves. The district’s vision included an innovative design, high-performance technologies, and programmatic sensitivity. The 122,000 square foot facility houses 1,000 students and 200 staff for grades 6-8. Its three V-shaped classroom wings connect to an enrichment core including a band/choir room, learning resource center, cafetorium, practice gym, and competition-size gym (seats 1,500). Among the district’s high-performance systems are daylight harvesting and a pond-based geothermal system.
Visitors approaching the school at the main entry can see through several building “layers” (a corridor, an outdoor courtyard, another corridor) to the 3-acre pond at the back of the facility. These views, courtesy of glass walls, capture the themes that inspired the design of the school: openness, innovation, and respect for nature. The design of Colin Powell Middle School responds to the client’s desire to provide a progressive symbol of education to its students and community. Energy efficiency, environmental conscientiousness, and openness were all driving factors in the design.
The school is conceived as an open plan that is sensitive to its natural surroundings. Classrooms are grouped into three triangular volumes oriented in response to site features, solar orientation, views, and optimum internal circulation patterns. Natural courtyards allow nature to visually penetrate the building through glass-enclosed corridors, while also allowing daylight and views to internal areas of the school.
The project has been the recipient of multiple awards, including an Excellence in Masonry Silver Award (IL/IN Masonry Council), a Middle School Citation (Architectural Portfolio, American School & University), Project of the Year – K-12 Education category (Midwest Construction), and an Award of Merit in Educational Environments Exhibition (Illinois Association of School Boards).