Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the guidance of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), the convergence of new public policy, technology and curriculum design has provided Architecture the platform to imagine a new model for 21st century learning and innovation environments. The Center for Architecture Design and Education (CADE) can’t simply be one building with four independent components, converging at obvious overlaps. This is the old model based on closed systems, lacking the flexibility and adaptation required of today’s increasingly evolving learning and working environments.
We see this as an opportunity for a new building typology that can be organized and reorganized by the stakeholders with a common goal, to equip young Chicagoans to be 21st century citizens. Our project takes full advantage of the web of connections between the neighborhood, CAF and CTUBH to support and stimulate the interests of the students of the Design and Allied Arts High School and Out-Of-School-Time programming. This proposal, with innovation and collaboration at its core, places the user in control of their learning futures and poised to be leaders in their community.
Our proposal is to create a living lab that places the student at the center of an open innovation ecosystem. Working with a spatial modular component, we created an open system that can infinitely expand and contract, allowing for continuity of surface and space. Spaces fluctuate between the formal and informal – allowing for traditional objectives-driven teaching approaches as well as exploratory or informal learning. Informal learning influenced by personal goals and interests maximizes knowledge retention because motivation remains with the student. We propose the local prestigious design universities hold workshops at the CADE to provide mentorship to the students.
In 1922 the Chicago Tribune held a competition for its new headquarters to make the ‘most beautiful office building in the world’. This competition ignited the global architecture community to challenge the skyscraper much the same was the CAF has now challenged the professions to design the spaces we learn and work in. With the global economy shifting to be Knowledge based, the CAF and Chicago are positioning itself to be at the forefront of the architectural discourse. The value of this project is to contribute to this on-going conversation.