University of Chicago Child Development Drexel

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Program: University Childcare Facility
LEED Certification: Gold
Status: Complete, 2013
Photography: © Kate Joyce Studios

The Child Development Center Drexel is the first childcare center built for the University of Chicago. The Center is located on a developing edge of the medical campus, and shall serve the families of both the University and Medical Center. On a University campus known for its combination of historic buildings and innovative architecture, the clients and architects worked to develop a language for the child care facility that creates a playful environment that’s fits with the campus environment. The center includes administration spaces, a multipurpose room and nine classrooms for infants, toddlers, young preschoolers and preschoolers in 12,710 square feet. Each classroom has direct access to an outdoor playground. Full-height windows in the classrooms bring natural light into the space and allow outdoor views for the children as well as the adults. A number of sustainable features have been incorporated into the building including a graphic film applied to the large expanses of glass, designed to prevent bird collisions while allowing the use of natural lighting, thus reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day. Sustainable strategies include a high performance building envelope, maximized daylighting and views, Solatubes for additional daylighting, lighting controls with occupancy sensors, white reflective roof and vegetative roof, low flow plumbing fixtures, energy efficient HVAC design. In addition, the materials chosen for the center have high recycled content and are all low VOCs products.