Text description provided by the architects. The design for the new SOS Children’s Villages Illinois and Maestro Cares Community Center exemplifies a unification of SOS’s child-fostering mission with the surrounding family “villages” of the Roosevelt Square community. The prominent corner site along the active Blue Island Avenue, just south and west of Chicago’s downtown area, will welcome engagement with adjacent residential neighborhoods while presenting a positive and compelling outward image to the public. SOS is pioneer as the first public building in Chicago to fully utilize, and gained permit to use, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). As a renewable and reusable material, it can be recovered at the end of the building life and reused in other buildings.
The Buildings structure is a combination of Glulam Beams and CLT Decking Panels, and the columns and beams are built in Glued Laminated Timber (Glulam) to replace steel and minimize CO2 emissions. Solar panels located on the roof generate direct electricity to the center, reducing electricity costs and CO2 emissions. Energy-efficient appliances and fixtures also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
JGMA’s design is a physical manifestation of the forward-thinking nature of the SOS Children’s Villages organization. Inside the building, a dialogue is fostered between private programming: administrative and counseling offices; and more open, collective, and communal programs: group study areas, a community event space, and an educational kitchen. JGMA located the community gathering and dining space and a roof terrace on the second floor, celebrating views to downtown Chicago to inspire children, families, and all who pass through.
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois will be well served by public transportation (CTA 60 bus and Blue and Pink rapid transit line stations), automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian access. Through these many modes of accessing the new location, the SOS Children’s Villages will participate in and augment the vibrancy of the existing neighborhood. Processional approaches to the building through a public plaza and community gardens also contribute to a sense of arrival, while establishing a positive street presence, clear site circulation, and community-oriented outdoor gathering.
Ultimately, this new center facilitates and encourages community interaction, while providing safe and comfortable facilities for children, families, and staff.