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New Southwest Area School Gets a Colorful Facade

The STR Partners-designed project features a glazed brick exterior with viva la 60's flair

Tucked away into the residential blocks of the West Lawn neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side, a new three-story school designed by STR Partners is getting closer to completion with the installation of a brick facade. The project, known presently as 'Southwest Area School' is being developed through the Public Building Commission of Chicago and will encompass 135,000 square feet with a design capacity for 1500 students. Located along 60th Street between Karlov and Keeler Avenues, the site is a full square block which has long been owned by the Board of Education and served as athletic fields for nearby Hubbard High School. The athletic fields have since been reconstructed into a more condensed arrangement on new artificial turf within the southern two-thirds of the block and are presently open for use.

The exterior of the new school building is to be clad almost entirely of glazed brick, a material which was commonly used with mid-twentieth century designs, but has since largely been absent from newer construction, especially so for municipal buildings. However, the material here is celebrated and certainly blends well with bulk of the neighborhood’s houses and flats constructed with mid-century flair. The base brick color is a glossy white which stretches across the structure with strong horizontal bands forming spandrel lines between the windows. The windows are then arranged in a pattern with alternating splashes of accent color between the openings, like splatters of paint on a blank canvas. As masonry crews wrap the steel framed structure with the colorful facade, work continues on the interior to finish the building in time for the start of the new school year this fall.

Checking In on the Construction of the Southwest Area School [Curbed Chicago]

New STR-Designed School Slated for West Lawn [Curbed Chicago]