Levy Senior Center

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Program: Community and Senior Center
Status: Complete, 2002
Photography: © Hedrich Blessing, Steve Hall
Selected Recognition: 2007 AIA Illinois Frank Lloyd Wright, Honor Award. 2003 Interior Architecture Award, American Institute of Architects Chicago. 2003 Design Evanston Award, New Construction. 2003 Design Evanston Award, Interior Design. 2003 Chicago Building Congress Merit Award.

The new senior and community center for a mature Chicago suburb, is located on a reclaimed recycling site in a 27 acre park. The design approach seeks to visually and spiritually minimize the loss of the City’s finite green space, by creating a see through, pavilion-like building using materials that recall historical park structures. The 25,500 square foot, $6 million center has three components: the glass enclosed classroom wing shielded by a 13’ high wood louvered screen providing and allowing views through and into the park; the multipurpose gymnasium/theater constructed of light transmitting, fiberglass panels and offices and support spaces clad in brick and aluminum. Natural materials were selected for durability, accessibility and sustainability. A slate border around the courtyard arcade provides a tactile warning and high contrast definition for users who are visually impaired. The wood louvers are built from sassafras, a weather resistant sustainable harvested species that allows daylight while protecting the occupants from the glare and heat of direct sun radiation.