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El Valor Inclusion Center 

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Chicago, IL, United States

The proposed state-of-the-art, 130,000 sq. ft. El Valor International Inclusion Center campus is designed as a education and research facilities with spaces for child care, various arts programs, horticulture, music, and the culinary arts. The heart of the newly designed facility centers around El Valor’s community outreach program, committed to enriching and empowering the lives of those with disabilities. 

The proposed El Valor will be sited on an eight-acre site bounded by 45th and 46th streets to the north and south and Damen ave and Wolcott Ave to the west and east. The purpose for this planned development proposal is to create a new community campus that will offer valuable amenities to the community and encourage new development in the surrounding area. The campus, on the edge of the Stockyards industrial corridor, will also serve as a buffer between residential areas to the south and east and manufacturing and commercial to the north and west. 

The L-shaped building is designed to consolidate two distinct programs-- early childhood education and continuing education for adults-- under one roof, while maintaining adequate separation. The north wing houses head-start classrooms and intensive guidance and support rooms for children and parents. The south-west wing contains training facilities for adults as well as large spaces for culinary arts and research and training. A large open lobby connects the two wings with a pedestrian-oriented entry at the east and entry from the parking lot to the west. Visibility and security are paramount to this facility and the pass-through at the lobby provides both. The large glass entryway also suggests an invitation to the neighboring community. Visitors to the center are greeted with clear views through exterior walls and ample natural light from large skylights whether arriving on foot, from public transportation, or by vehicle.  

The new center provides a strong connection to nature and the surrounding community through liberal use of glass window walls. The perforated metal façade achieves both a functional application and aesthetic appeal, integrating the El Valor brand hexagon patterning as perforation in the new metal rain screen façade. The double wall rainscreen shelters the building from unwanted solar heat gain while diffusing large amounts of natural light into the facility. Doing double duty to maintain varying levels of privacy, as the density of perforation change to meet the programmatic needs. The various degrees of transparency encourage curiosity and interaction for the new learning environment, drawing together surrounding community. 

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