This urban high school prototype for the City of Chicago is organized into three thematic components: body, mind and spirit, that relate to the various programs and activities within the school that comprise the curriculum. The site is zoned according to these thematic areas, and bars are created housing the athletics (body), the academy classrooms and teaching spaces (mind), and the library, arts and music (spirit). The bars slide against each other to create outdoor spaces on the site, programmed for specific activities that work in conjunction with the buildings—entry courtyard, athletics fields, and reading garden.
Inside, the space planning stresses adaptability and flexibility that we had previously explored in other projects, with main public spaces serving multiple functions. The gymnasium, with deployable seating for sporting events, converts to a 1200 seat auditorium via separate deployable theater seating. An adjacent multi-purpose space can be adapted to changing needs (music recitals, art exhibitions, dance studios and lectures).
We proposed that some of the dedicated spaces of the building could be shared with the community when the school was closed, to promote interaction with the community and maximize the utility of the public investment. Thus, the library can be entered directly through the Reading garden after school hours; likewise, the pool and gymnasium can be entered directly from the exterior.