Architects: John Ronan Architects
Location: Chicago, USA
Design team: John Ronan, Josh Bergman, Evan Menk, Marcin Szef, Anna Ninoyu
Project area: 45,000 sq. ft.
Project year: 2009 – 2010
Photographs: Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing Photography
This 45,000 square foot new construction charter high school is designed to be used in conjunction with the adjacentGaryComerYouthCenter,locatedintheGrandCrossingneighborhoodofChicago. Thetwo-story structure is comprised of classrooms, a lecture room, and administrative offices for The Gary Comer College Prep school, to be operated by the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago. The school will share facilities with the adjacent Youth Center, where students will use the gymnasium, cafeteria, music rooms, art rooms, and computer lab space.
The new charter high school building is meant to form a campus with the existing Youth Center, yet retain its own identity. Similar materials are employed to bind the two structures into one unified campus, including corrugated stainless steel siding, and aluminum composite panels. A large glazed lobby space in the new school allows views of the Youth Center from both levels; a stone walkway provides access for students walking between the two buildings.
Inside the new school, skylights running the length of the building bring natural light into the school corridors on both levels. Glass walls between the hallway and classrooms allow this light to further penetrate into the building; classroomswillreceivenaturallightfromtwodirections. Thiscorridorglazingalsoallowsstudentsandvisitors visual access into the classrooms, and reinforces the school’s philosophy that students should always be alert and engaged.ç
To the north of the building, a decorative fence encircles a secured parking area. The fencing incorporates signage that identifies the neighborhood and together with plantings and porous paving, creates a sustainable gateway park.