architect: STLarchitects   |   design director:  Jose Luis Perez-Griffo    photography: Ignacio Espigares

Chicago, Illinois, USA

LYCEE FRANCAIS DE CHICAGO

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The Lycee Francais de Chicago hired STLarchitects to design their new campus in the Ravenswood neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. The school building was part of the first phase of their campus Masterplan. The following stages are the addition of an auditorium, a new library, and additional classrooms. After that, a new Arts and Labs wing would be designed to complete the entire vision for the Lycee Campus.

The school project had a low budget, and yet the team was able to design and built a school with great presence and high character. The Lycee’s central atrium is vital to space as it visually connects all four levels of the educational wing. The atrium is a space to which students and faculty can relate to and can consider their own.  It is a space that promotes social interaction among students of different ages and teachers. The area is illuminated with natural light coming from the east and west façades plus several skylights on the top.

The entire façade of the building is made of structural insulated panels (SIP) with an additional layer of perforated and corrugated metal panels on top. This SIP system allows for an economical and fast to erect façade. The perception of the school changes depending on the time of the day. During the day, only the white metal with the square fenestrations is apparent. However, at twilight, the façade starts switching to a more transparent envelope, showing the entire area of the windows, and projecting out the bright colors of the inner walls of the classrooms.