The Erie Elementary Charter School (EECS) was built on the foundation of the Erie Neighborhood House (ENH). This core concept of serving and educating Chicago’s low income immigrant population continues on at the EECS where the teachings extend beyond the classroom. Involving the community through unique life experiences, language, culture and sport grow the curriculum outside of the typical school environment.
The EECS campus includes the main school building, a former convent/office building, parking lot and adjacent play lot north of the main school. After a thorough assessment of the existing buildings, associated site and proposed building program, we found the main school building to be structurally sound and able to handle another occupied floor on the roof. Considering an adequately sized gym would not fit on the footprint of the existing convent, the most appropriate and dramatic location for this would be on the current roof of the school.
Extracting the existing convent and relocating the gymnasium/ auditorium to an elevated position provided for an expansive open ground plane. All of this creating a more welcoming entrance for the community, intimate playground for students, and allowing for more green space.