Architecture Monday

January 12, 2015

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images © James Steinkamp

A tight site. An involved and extensive program. And very important occupants. Sometimes you’re given a project that just seems ca-razy. And then you get to work and get funkeh! Put the a pool on the top floor? Perfect!*

So here we have Perkins + Will’s design for a high school in the heart of Chicago’s downtown. Taking what could otherwise be a very jumbled and cramped design, they teased the vertical axis to provide generous well-lit hallways and atria, a multitude of terraces, a full auditorium, pool, and gymnasium, and details that provide identity and an expression that the kids matter. Not to mention some great views of Grant Park. There are a few spaces that perhaps look a bit generic-corporate but on the whole it is a fine solution to the program complexities and the limitations of the site.

* – It actually does make sense in a weird way; if you don’t want to put it on the ground floor there are some structural grid advantages to putting it on the top floor…

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