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University of Chicago Child Development Center - Stony Island

Wheeler Kearns Architects



University of Chicago Child Development Center - Stony Island


  • Construction Manager: Leopardo Construction

Project Status


Year Completed



13,300 sq. feet

Certifications and Designations


AIA CAE Awards

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Project Description

When faced with the question "How do you design a day care for the children of future Nobel laureates?", one approach seemed promising. Instead of creating another place dominated by primary colors and synthetic play equipment, children could be offered an opportunity to discover natural phenomena in the natural world. Discovering first principles first-hand surrounded by minimally processed natural materials. Consequently, the design emphasizes the natural landscape over the built-one, centered around two playscapes with a footprint larger than the building itself. The playscapes conceptually graft onto the historic Frederick Law Olmstead landscape located across the street in Jackson Park. Materials constructed by nature either from the atmosphere (trees, plants, wood) or from the earth (boulders, rocks, sand) dominate.
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