Studio Gang has designed a new home for the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC), a Chicago Public Charter School in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood. Established eight years ago with the operating philosophy that a more sustainable world begins at school, the proposed campus is an urban farm and educational institution wrapped into one.
According to the Studio, “[the design] reimagines the concept of ‘school’ as a place that embraces the innate curiosity of children, the natural systems of the world, and a responsibility to make positive change, instilling in students a mindset of sustainability and wellness.” In creating a design that focuses on the school’s distinct character and goals, Studio Gang believes the institution can be a model for global change.
Currently AGC operates out of two buildings separated by a busy road. The school partnered with Studio Gang in 2015 to design a new purpose-built 21st-century learning campus. The proposed design is a series of indoor and outdoor learning environments around a central courtyard. Students and teachers from different grade levels are placed in collaborative environments, aiding the school’s inquiry-based approach to learning. The different areas of the school are thought of as “neighborhoods” and are connected by a “Wonder Path” that unites the school’s indoor and outdoor environments, hands-on laboratories, and learning stations.
Through the use of solar energy, greenhouses, seasonal gardens, stormwater management, natural ventilation, and geothermal systems, the school reduces its energy load and improves the definition of wellness for its students. One part of this is the urban farm, which not only allows students to participate in agriculture, food preparation, and animal care, but will also supply produce for meals. The school also believes that this process aids in the development of patience, self-confidence, empathy, an open mind to new and healthy foods, and an interest in becoming better global and local citizen.
In addition, the building’s orientation is meant to provide peak solar access for outdoor learning spaces and greenhouses, while also maximizing photovoltaic energy collection, and providing the most natural light for indoor classrooms and spaces with clerestory windows. The school also hopes to achieve net-positive status, producing more energy than it consumes through solar and geothermal sources. With sustainability and wellness as guiding principles, the school seeks to demonstrate a position of environmental stewardship that it hopes to impart on the students.
Location4300-4398 S Laporte Ave, Chicago, IL 60638, United States
Architect in ChargeStudio Gang
Interior ConsultantRosan Bosch Studio
ProgrammingWonder, By Design
Agricultural ConsultantGrowing Power Inc.
Structural EngineerThornton Tomasetti
MEP/FP/EWMA Consulting Engineers
Landscape ArchitectSite Design Group
WaterApplied Ecological Services
PhotographsCourtesy of Studio Gang