Set on a donated sliver of land between two elevated train lines in Chicago’s South Side, the Lavezzorio Community Center in the SOS Children’s Village makes both a visual and actual connection between the village’s housing complex for children to the south, and the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood to the north.

The Lavezzorio Community Center opened in 2007. Its purpose is to reunite siblings in foster-care families, provide housing and services for those families, and offer educational enrichment and activities for families. The building’s program includes family counseling offices, after-school program space, a daycare, administrative offices, a recreational room, an exterior play area, and a multi-purpose community room that serves the residents of the SOS Children’s Village housing development, as well as the adjacent neighborhood.

The limited budget for the two-story, 16,800-square-foot project led to unconventional applications of ordinary materials. Many in-kind material donations, such as concrete, were utilized to complete the building. The large striated exterior concrete wall was created in an unprecedented use of cast-in-place concrete.

The mix design for each successive pour includes Portland cement mix, fly ash, and slag-aggregates. The horizontal layers appear like strata in rock. Structurally, the tiered concrete walls created strength within each layer, making cantilevers possible.

Carefully positioned large-scale glazing provides vistas to active program areas, both inside and out. The second floor community room windows overlook the streetscape below, with its townhouses with turrets, and orange and white broadcast tower. On the ground floor, a corner opening creates the primary entrance on Parnell Avenue. It faces centralized green space and village homes.

A wide staircase in the lobby doubles as classroom seating and an impromptu stage for performances. The entwined stairs crisscross the lobby and connect to the large community room and computer lab on the second floor. Their geometry and scale, intended to activate the space, acts as a giant three-dimensional jungle gym for children to navigate.


SOS Children’s Villages Illinois

Studio Gang Architects
1212 N. Ashland Avenue, Suite 212
Chicago, IL 60622
T: 773-384-1212
F: 773-384-0231

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Jeanne Gang – Lead Design Architect (registered architect, AIA, LEED)s

Mark Schendel – Lead Managing Architect (registered architect, AIA, LEED) with Yu-Ting Chen and Beth Kalin (LEED)and Lynda Dossey (registered architect, AIA, LEED), Jay Hoffman, Thorsten Johann (LEED), Boryana Marcheva, Miriam Neet, Mauricio Sanchez (AIA, LEED), Schuyler Smith (LEED), Beth Wille (LEED), Juliane Wolf

Structural engineer:
Thornton Tomasetti
14 E. Jackson Boulevard, Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 606004
Contact: Faz Ehsan

CCJM Engineers, Ltd.
550 Washington Boulevard, Suite 950, Chicago, IL 60661
Contact: Anil Ahuja

Site Design Group, Ltd.
888 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60605
Contact: Ernest Wong

Charter Sills
124 North Neil Street, Suite 208, Champaign, IL 61820
Contact: Mark Sills

Kitchen/Food Service:
Cini Little International
1900 North Rosell Road, suite 407, Schaumburg, IL 60195
Contact: Armand Iaia

General contractor:
Bovis Lend Lease
One N. Wacker Drive, Suite 850, Chicago, IL 60606
Contact: Bert Brandt

Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing, (phone: 312-491-1101)

Renderer(s) and credit as they should appear:
Studio Gang Architects (phone: 773-384-1212)

CAD system, project management, or other software used:
AutoCad — drawings, by Autodesk
Tekla — used for 3D stair drawings by metal fabricator for tribune steel stair design, by
Tekla Corporation
Prolog — Construction Project Management Software, by Meridian Systems
Textura — Construction Payment Management, by Textura Corporation




Structural system:
Superstructure: Concrete, Prairie Material

Misc. steel: Metal Metrix LLC

Steel stairs: Metal Metrix LLC

Exterior Cladding:
Brick: Endicott Clay Products Co.

Curtainwall: Pittco Architectural Metals, Inc.

Aluminum storefront: Pittco Architectural Metals, Inc.

Concrete: Prairie Material

Concrete Admixture: Chromix® by Scofield Systems

Concrete Formwork: Plate Girder® by EFCO Corporation

Membrane roofing: TPO, white, manufacturer unknown

Metal coping: Petersen Aluminum Corporation

Aluminum, operable: Wausau Window and Wall Systems

Glass: Viracon, Inc.

Skylights: Naturalite Skylight Systems, Inc.

Revolving door: Crane Revolving Door Company

Metal doors: Steelcraft

Wood doors: Marshfield DoorSystems, Inc.

Locksets: Falcon Lock

Hinges: Hager Hinge Company

Pivots: Architectural Builders Hardware Manufacturing, Inc.

Closers: Dor-O-Matic

Exit devices: Monarch

Pulls: Rockwood Manufacturing Company

Cylinders & Interchangeable Cores: Falcon Lock

Sliding hardware: Hager Hinge Company

Cabinet hardware: Häfele America Co.

Interior Finishes:
Polycarbonate ceilings: Gallina USA, LLC

Acoustical ceilings: Tectum Inc.

Acoustical tile ceilings: Armstrong World Industries, Inc.

Suspension grid: Armstrong World Industries, Inc.

Cabinets: Snaidero

Custom millwork: Edward Hines Lumber Co., installed by ALCA Carpentry

Granite Countertops: Ahalya Stone (A Granite Innovation Company)

Paint: Sherwin-Williams

Wall tile, cork: Capri Cork [at first floor Lobby, second floor Open Office]

Wall tile, ceramic: Dal-Tile Corporation

Vinyl composite tile: Armstrong World Industries, Inc.

Solid surface tile: Corian by DuPont [discs at Lobby]

Carpet, short pile: Mohawk Industries

Carpet, shag: Shaw Industries Group, Inc.

Carpet tile: InterfaceFLOR

Maple floor: The Bahr Company

Roller shades: MechoShade Systems, Inc.

Aluminum blinds: Springs Window Fashions

Office furniture: Haworth

Chairs: Haworth


Pastil Chairs by Eero Aarnio, Adelta [Lobby]

Bottonoi Armchair, Design Within Reach [Lobby]


Rugs: Not Neutral

Cots: Mahar Manufacturing

Playground equipment: Grounds For Play, Inc.

Downlights: Hera Lighting L.P., Lightolier [Classrooms]

Metalux (Cooper Lighting) [Lobby]

Recessed cans: Atlantic Lighting Inc.

Surface mount: Progress Lighting [Lobby]

Recessed: Metalux (Cooper Lighting) [Classroom/Activities Room]

Vanity: Energie LLC

Task lighting: Humanscale Corporation

Elevator: Otis Elevator Company

Water fountains: S.K. Culver Co.

Automatic faucets: Kohler