Chicago Public Schools Design Competition Finalist
The subject of the international, open Chicago Public Schools Design Competition were new pre-K-8th grade schools designed to serve an integrated population of disabled and non-disabled students. The schools were designed with universal design principles: one of the first times nationally that universal design has been applied to new school construction. Multiple Identities: Three schools; nine grades; students, faculty, administration, parents, and therapists; disabled and non-disabled. The school creates a three-dimensional web of relationships in which each student can find many groups with which to identify. The space of the school is mapped according to each student’s experience, creating a frame for each of the groups she belongs to: a frame within which his individual identity can develop. A Front Door: Three specialized classrooms for science, art, and music are shared, but each identifies the focus of the school with which it is associated. These workspaces become the portal which identifies each school through its work and connects it to its neighbors. Four Schools on Grade: The ground plane is multiplied to connect to each school: an upper plane for the three individual elementary schools, and a lower plane for the single school core that brings them together. Vertical connections within the building directly link each school to Gym, Dining Hall, Health Center, and Kindergarten, while the grade outside gives each a universally accessible connection to the site and neighborhood.