2014 Committee on Architecture for Education Design Excellence Award
Inspired by an adjacent historic landscape, the University of Chicago Childcare Development Center - Stony Island integrates the natural environment with its architecture and child-centered curriculum. A z-shaped building sits in the modest infill site to optimize daylight and private exterior connections. Playcourts, which adjoin two by-passing classroom wings, provide for age-appropriate physical challenges and exploration. Natural materials, constructed from either the atmosphere (trees, plants, wood) or from the earth (boulders, rocks, sand) dominate.
Situated on a narrow, urban Chicago site, this child development center is an airy, light- filled oasis. There are many appealing and original ideas in this building. The highly original use of natural material integrated into exterior play areas includes massive boulders and stone crib walls as a security fences and bark as wall cladding. The simple linear plan of the building with its green roofs makes a larger than life gesture out of a relatively small program, reflecting the expansive lakefront park beyond. There is no plastic to be seen, in keeping with the philosophy of the school. The use of ‘real’ ‘materials, not just primary colors extends to the restrained.#award #Excellence #design #Jury #CAE