Christ the King Preparatory School

Construction year: 2008
Address: 5088 W Jackson Blvd | CHICAGO-ILLINOIS | United States | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 41.8767, -87.7531

This private high school in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Chicago is based on the Jesuit educational concept of Corus Personalis, or care of the whole person.  The school is conceived of as a body with chapel, library, gym and dining hall serving as the vital organs of heart, mind, lungs, etc.   The L-shaped building forms a courtyard with an existing middle school already on the site, and is comprised of a 3-story academic wing connected to a one-story gymnasium/auditorium (to allow construction phasing).

The building sits directly on the property line to directly engage with the community it seeks to root itself into, and to maximize the green space courtyard on the building’s north side.   Students in the school work one day a week at a job to offset the cost of their education, and the school uniform is business attire; the building’s façade of multi-colored fiber-reinforced cement panels and playful window rhythms serve to give identity to this business-like approach to education.

The school’s steel & precast concrete structure and rainscreen cladding was specifically designed to meet the project’s modest budget and compressed construction schedule. The Chapel anchors the east end academic wing and is day lit from a skylight monitor rising three stories; glass block, in a random pattern, surrounds the chapel space on three sides.  The building frames a courtyard that looks out onto a large green space public park to the north.  In this courtyard, students will socialize, recreate, take outdoor instruction and participate in Mass.  Custom Stations of the Cross panels are integrated into the building’s colored cement panel façade in this area, which start on the wall near the Chapel and continue around the courtyard.

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