JGMA’s proposal to transform the former CPS Paderewski Elementary School was one focused on the transformative power of the arts and education in a neighborhood that has many challenges. By literally opening the walls of an outdated gymnasium and theatre to become a community art gallery and event space, we promote inclusivity and provide a gathering space for adults, struggling high school students, artists, musicians and community art lovers alike.
To inspire the imagination of children, as part of a day care component, a topographic green perimeter was designed around the ground floor as a nature play space for toddlers and children 2-5 years old. An outdoor learning space and community garden was also proposed to provide fresh food and nature education to the cafeteria serving alternative high school students.
Our vision for a fourth floor dedicated to the creative arts incorporated a true flexible open studio floor plan with collapsible walls and access to a roof terrace artists’ lounge that would take advantage of inspiring views to downtown Chicago. The architecture for this space took cues from an existing concrete barrel vault roof, beautiful in its modern simplicity.