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CPS South Side High School

Chicago, IL, United States

The new South Side High School will be a beacon for the Englewood community, combining four neighboring high schools into a center for innovation and discovery. The new structure, sited between West Normal Parkway and West 69th Street, will act not only as an educational facility, but rather a generator of community wellness and activity. Conceptually and physically bringing the academic and neighboring community to the center of the site, the new high school radiates sports from the center to community amenities towards the site peripheries, bringing the neighborhood into the site and expanding sporting activities outward. The main design intention is to cultivate a campus that acts as a lightning rod to inspire students’ career paths into working jobs and higher education, creating an overarching connected feeling that shapes the identity of the new South Side High School campus and neighboring community, shedding a positive light on the community of Englewood.

Taking queues from Englewood’s rich history of architectural innovation, South Side High School intends to add to that legacy through a contemporary learning center for the 20th Century. The high school, situated near the center of the site, intends to pull students inwards and radiate public activity to the site boundaries, conceptually and physically bridging into the surrounding neighborhood. The athletic fields and building orientation are rotated along a similar axis of the Wendell Campbell, a prominent African American Chicago architect, designed Robeson High School, creating a new organizational strategy spurring directly from the legacy of an Englewood design. This allows unique views of not only the building but the activities surrounding the high school without compromising an ideal orientation for sporting events. The site will also be prominent visually from the neighboring Metra and Amtrak Train lines, creating a further connection back to the city.

The school celebrates public activity at the ground level, offering transparency into cultural and athletic programs such as music, dance, art and a sunken gymnasium, providing an inspiring experience of arrival. Located to the south of the building and site near 69th street and CTA bus stops is the SBHC, a health center not only for students but community members alike. Just adjacent to the east is the dining hall, which visually connects to vegetable gardens and the nearby Parker Child Parent Center. Classrooms are located and the upper floors, offering students vistas of the Englewood neighborhood and downtown Chicago. The design culminates an elevated campus “quad” as an outdoor informal learning area where students can socialize and share ideas with the backdrop of Chicago prominently visible above the tree line.


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