Past winners

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, Third Place

At Gary Comer College Prep in Grand Crossing, faculty and students live by the belief that with grit, zest and optimism anything is possible. Their building embodies that philosophy as well.

With its colored façade, large windows and elegant skylights, the school is a beacon of promise that dominates the landscape at South Chicago Avenue and 73rd Street.

Designed by John Ronan Architects, the green and stainless steel metal cladding brightens the landscape and complements the brightly colored adjacent Comer Youth Center, whose cafeteria, music and art rooms the school shares. While the perforated metal siding serves to keep the building cool, it also provides a transparency that reflects the school’s philosophy of openness— a theme carried throughout the structure.

Glass walls allow visual access to classrooms and lecture halls. Skylights and walls of windows transmit abundant light, and vibrant graphics create a spacious, uplifting atmosphere. Completing the campus feeling is a cloistered courtyard – a place for students and faculty to gather away from the street.

The building has a green roof to alleviate the urban “heat-island” effect, as well as three inches of external insulation to optimize thermal performance of the building envelope.

For its creation of a building that is sustainable and looks to anchor the surrounding community, John Ronan Architects is awarded the Third Place Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design.

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