Located in Chicago’s Southside, the Englewood STEM High School replaces an aging facility with an inviting, brand-new learning environment.
The sprawling three-story building seamlessly blends STEM-focused spaces with an array of athletic and fine arts programming, positioning students for success inside and outside the classroom.
Serving the Community
As an active symbol of community investment, the contemporary facility addresses Englewood’s education and health disparities by offering a dedicated health center that provides comprehensive primary care and behavioral health services for both the students and neighborhood.
The school serves the Englewood neighborhood beyond its student body by allowing flexible partitioning of the building. The health center, athletic amenities, and spaces for community gatherings, are accessible to the public during off-hours.
An energizing display of Afro-centric experiential graphics and murals contribute to an atmosphere that honors the student culture. The design team collaborated with the community to develop a new logo and visual identity emblematic of the curriculum and surrounding cultural influences.
Going beyond educational goals, holistic design principles are harnessed to encourage healthier, happier students. The façade is a direct expression of the building program within–punched openings allow adequate light and views within the classrooms, while curtain walls reflect the open and lively nature of public spaces.
The project incorporates two strategies for managing 100% of storm-water on-site. With a high permeability of existing soils beneath the athletic fields, half of the runoff is filtered through a trench drain system, while the remainder is collected with an underground detention system lying beneath the front entry plaza.
Transparent features are emphasized within community areas and exterior-facing classrooms, maximizing views and daylight while reinforcing the school’s commitment to the community. Interconnectivity within common spaces creates an inclusive environment that promotes unity among students and staff, reinforced by bold graphics throughout.
The angular massing and campus plan draw inspiration from the nearby Metra Rock Island train line. Linear geometries express visual and physical connections between the building and its surrounding residential context, extending further into the bustling heart of the city via the critical public transit line.