400 Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois, United States
SOM collaborated with the prestigious college-preparatory school to reimagine the north portion of the Middle and Upper Division Campus through a combination of adaptive reuse and new construction—expanding its spaces for science, athletics, and student life.
The master plan for the Middle and Upper Division Campus sets the stage for new and varied approaches to education. To accommodate mobile learners who rely on new technology, the plan provides spaces that support independent and team-based discovery, along with informal study and meeting spaces. At the heart of the master plan, a new Science Center and Campus Center building, a new Aquatic Center, and the expansion and renovation of a historic gymnasium coalesce to create an ideal environment for creativity and wellbeing. In addition to these new spaces, SOM developed a flexible, campus-wide design standard that incorporates stone and brick materials to unify new and existing architecture.
The new Science Center and Campus Center building embraces reflective and active learning by encouraging hands-on activities, collaboration, and creativity. The Science Center includes chemistry, biology, and physics labs, breakout spaces, prep rooms, classrooms, and faculty offices. The design reinforces the school’s pedagogy, which exposes students to advanced science activities and research early in their education.
The integrated, multilevel Campus Center provides space for student activities, lounge areas, a “Great Room” for meeting and collaboration, and quiet rooms for independent or group study. Incorporating stone and brick—materials that harmonize with the historic gymnasium—the architecture creates a new front door to the North Campus.
Study areas in the Campus Center overlook the pools in the new Aquatic Center, which features an eight-lane pool with a movable floor for competitive water polo, youth instruction, and faculty use. Seating accommodates up to 150 spectators. Expandable locker rooms can accommodate four separate teams during tournaments. The Aquatic Center uses an efficient, pre-engineered structure which accelerated the construction schedule.
Originally built in 1924, the Prettyman Gymnasium has been restored and upgraded to accommodate a greater range of activities. The building’s exterior and original, lower level gymnasium space were both restored, while minor modifications were made to the upper gymnasium from the 1960s. A pool area has been adapted into a fitness center with a trainers’ suite, and historic details, such as the pool’s original wood trusses and red brick elements, are revealed once again. The gymnasium is the centerpiece of North Campus, while the new Science Center, Campus Center, and Aquatic Center wrap around the gymnasium and reflect the materiality of the historic building.
As part of the renovation, SOM designed a new lobby that creates an entrance to four different levels of the existing building and upgrades its accessibility. The lobby features new seating and social spaces to bring students together. Glass walls offer views to the campus, while the stone and brick walls reinforce the existing character of the campus.
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