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Chiaravalle Montessori: Progressive in Education, Progressive in Design

June 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Architecture can be at its most expressive when the intended use is nontraditional. Montessori schools, which use a time-tested yet unorthodox educational technique, require spaces that one might not find in a conventional elementary classroom. It should be no surprise then that a progressive teaching method begets progressive building design.

The new North Wing at Chiaravalle Montessori School provides the Evanston campus a stunning, open space that embodies this progressive approach. Cannon Design created the $7 million, 19,000 square foot addition with the aim of fostering both collaboration and independence among the student body.
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Harper Court, Hyde Park and the Essence of Community

June 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

HC6In its previous incarnation, Harper Court was a deteriorating remnant of past urban renewal. Evoking a 1960s strip mall vogue, two levels of retail were split off the plaza, with stairs leading down to shops below grade and another set of stairs going up to the second level. Trends in retail have changed, however, and it was proving difficult to retain tenants.
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Sustainability is Above Board at Chicago’s Newest Harbor

March 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

31st_Okrent_smBears season tickets. That is possibly the only waiting list in Chicago longer than the one to get a boat slip. With marina demand so large, the need for a new harbor was evident. The Chicago Park District conducted a study of the lakefront in 2005 to determine the best spot for a new marina. At the top of that list was one location: 31st Street.
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A Decade of Model Green Building

June 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

This June, the Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT) turned ten years old. Hundreds of people came out to celebrate the successes of one of the country’s premier green building educational facilities and to launch it toward the next ten years.
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Roosevelt University Eyes the Future

March 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Edward Sparling was president of the YMCA College in Chicago in 1945 when he refused to provide the school’s board with student demographic information, fearing a quota that would limit the enrollment of women and minorities. When the board insisted, Sparling resigned in protest and many of the school’s faculty and staff joined him.

This group of educators without a school voted to create a new college and, according to legend, purchased the Auditorium Building—the arguable masterpiece of Adler and Sullivan—from the city for $1. “They picked up buckets and mops and literally scrubbed the building back to habitability,” said Lesley Slavitt, Vice President for Government Relations and University Outreach at Roosevelt University. “We have lovingly tried to not just repair, but restore it to its historical elegance.”
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The Green Exchange Comes to Life

March 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

As spring arrives and the region shows signs of life renewed, new vigor is coming to the Green Exchange as well. Imagined as a microcosm of sustainable businesses, the Green Exchange made much fanfare five years ago with the announcement of plans to refurbish the former Cooper Lighting factory in Logan Square into a localized venue for purveyors of green products and services. And then the floor fell out of the economy.
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O’Hare Goes Green. Big Time.

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Courtesy Chicago Department of Aviation

Ten years ago, then-Mayor Richard M. Daley announced a plan to renovate the area’s overtaxed, international airport. The O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) advocated new and extended runways, a reconfigured layout and a newly-constructed western terminal.

The project was designed to reduce delays and increase capacity at the airfield. Spend some money now, the thinking goes (the current OMP budget is estimated at $8 billion), and make more later once O’Hare’s prominence as a transportation hub is carried on into the 21st century.
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Chicago’s Nine Largest Green Roofs

December 15, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

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#1 Millennium Park

Spanning roughly 24 acres, the 1,067,220 square foot Millennium Park is considered one of the largest green roof projects in the world. Completed in 2004, the $475 million project includes landscape art, full grown trees, interactive water fountains and a skating rink in the winter. What many people forget is that the roof actually covers two parking garages, a transit center and the 1,525 seat Harris Theater.

FedEx O’Hare Opens City’s Largest Green Roof

October 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The FedEx Cargo Relocation Facility, is part of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), now includes the largest green roof in the City of Chicago. The 3.9 acre structure is the size of three football fields or roughly 175,000 square feet.

The roof is visible from planes as they take off and land from O’Hare. Globally, this is the second largest green roof structure, behind a green roof at the Frankfort, Germany airport.
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Green Building Goes Back to School

September 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary, which opened in the Avondale neighborhood last year, features a vegetated roof over half of the school.

That disappointing surrender of freedom that every child feels upon returning to school at the close of summer is generations old. School itself, however, is changing at an ever increasing clip as textbooks are giving way to computer tablets, chalkboards to whiteboards and spiral notebooks to flash drives.
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