South Shore International College Prep High School

Distinguished Building Award Submission

This public high school, the original prototype of Chicago’s Urban Model High School program, is organized into three thematic components: body, mind and spirit, reflecting the school’s major programmatic components: athletics (body), classrooms (mind), and the arts (spirit). These elements are organized into bars that slide against each other to create complementary exterior spaces on the site—entry courtyard, athletics fields, and reading garden.

The school is designed to allow the library, pool and gymnasium to be entered directly from outside, so that these spaces can be used when the school is closed, allowing the facility to better serve its community.

Inside, the space planning stresses adaptability and flexibility, with main public spaces serving multiple functions. The gymnasium converts to a 1200 seat auditorium, and multi-purpose spaces can be flexibly adapted to changing needs (music recitals, art exhibitions, dance studios, lectures, etc.).
The three zones of the school are bounded by a continuous masonry ribbon that snakes through the site. Dark on one side, and light on the other, the wall serves to differentiate the building massing based on perspective. This thick masonry wall serves as a thermal mass to offset the LEED Silver building’s heating and cooling requirements.

John Ronan Architects
Associate Architect
DeStefano + Partners
Public Building Commision of Chicago
  • Charter Sills
  • Prism Engineering Inc.
  • Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, Inc.
General contractor
Sollitt/Brown & Momen Joint Venture
Chicago, Illinois