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.
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
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
Renderer(s) and credit as they should appear:
CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Misc. steel: Metal Metrix LLC
Steel stairs: Metal Metrix LLC
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
Metal coping: Petersen Aluminum Corporation
Skylights: Naturalite Skylight Systems, Inc.
Metal doors: Steelcraft
Wood doors: Marshfield DoorSystems, Inc.
Hinges: Hager Hinge Company
Pivots: Architectural Builders Hardware Manufacturing, Inc.
Exit devices: Monarch
Pulls: Rockwood Manufacturing Company
Cylinders & Interchangeable Cores: Falcon Lock
Sliding hardware: Hager Hinge Company
Cabinet hardware: Häfele America Co.
Acoustical ceilings: Tectum Inc.
Acoustical tile ceilings: Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
Suspension grid: Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
Custom millwork: Edward Hines Lumber Co., installed by ALCA Carpentry
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
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.
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
Automatic faucets: Kohler