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Sustainable South Side Charter School by Studio Gang Revealed

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The 65,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor school will have a three-acre urban farm

Jeanne Gang’s Studio Gang Architects — the local firm behind projects such as Aqua, the new Writer’s Theatre, and the upcoming supertall Vista Tower — have taken the wraps off their most recent Chicago project, an environmentally-conscious K-8 Chicago public charter school slated for the city’s southwest side. Known as the Academy for Global Citizenship, the new campus will occupy an undeveloped site just east of LeClaire-Hearst Park in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge community, replacing the school’s currently cramped home located at 4647 W. 47th Street.

Though the academy released some preliminary, dune-like renderings penned by Cannon Design several years ago, these are the first official images we’ve seen from Studio Gang since the Chicago-based architectural firm was selected to design the new 65,000-square-foot complex in 2015.

The new home of the Academy for Global Citizenship will utilize a central courtyard flanked by an interconnected series of indoor and outdoor learning spaces. Hoping to eliminate the physical barriers found in traditional classrooms, the school will use the open architectural layout to encourage greater collaboration between educators as well as better integrate students from differing age groups, according to Gang’s website.

Designed to foster good practices of sustainability and environmental stewardship, the campus reflects a modern greenhouse aesthetic for optimized natural light. The school will also expose pupils to the food cycle on its three-acre urban farm designed in partnership with Growing Power. Billed as the first net positive school in the Midwest, the facility will producing more energy than it consumes through photovoltaic cells and will reuse collected rainwater. Construction is expected to be completed sometime in 2018.