During the fall semester of my fourth year I was able to dedicate my time to one project. The goal for this semester was to follow the project from schematic design to design documents. The building itself was an addition to the Old Town School of Folk Music, a historic music school located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago.
Working on a small urban lot allowed me to narrow my focus and examine ways to draw in natural light and also orient the occupants to the surrounding context. A number of volumes were removed from the building’s form to achieve these ends. The first set of voids were created on the second and third levels. These “interaction corridors” helped solve a number of problems.
These spaces provided the primary location for the people of the school to interact in an informal manner. Generous space and flexible seating helped achieve this effect. These spaces also served a secondary function as a mechanical chase for the building as a whole. Limited floor heights necessitated that space be found within the walls for mechanical equipment to travel. Materially, the spaces were clad in metal mesh that allowed for the exposure of the equipment. The screens also help diffuse the recessed lights located along the corridors.
The second set of voids came in the form of vertical light wells that reach towards the middle of the building. These spaces help illuminate a number of the classrooms in the building’s interior. One of these spaces provides outdoor seating for the building’s administration space.
The exterior of the building is clad in a naturally corrosive resistant steel manufactured by company in Kansas City. This material was chosen for its ability to fit in with Lincoln Square’s vernacular architecture. The surrounding streetscape is clad almost entirely in red brick. I was able to work with the manufacturer to manipulate the control joints to create a pattern that visually breaks up the facade. Details like these help the building to fit within the surrounding context.
Status: School Project
Location: Chicago, IL, US