Earl Shapiro Hall

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

The Laboratory Schools, founded in 1904, serve students from Nursery School through 12th Grade. Earl Shapiro Hall (ESH) is part of a master plan which also includes 300,000 sf of historic preservation and adaptive reuse, and a new 100,000 sf Arts Hall.

The Master Plan began with an exhaustive research phase documented in "The Future of Education". The intent was to embed the latest thinking about how children learn in every aspect of the architecture.

ESH is an expression of this research and the values of the institution. Team teaching, the importance of natural light, creative play – both indoors and outdoors, focus on the student instead of the curriculum, learning by doing, the creation of un-programmed learning labs for individual exploration, the emphasis on spaces where kids can learn from each other, these and many other innovative concepts informed the design.

The building is quite simple – a classroom wing and an entry wing. The classrooms are in pairs and connect through shared meeting rooms for collaboration. Between the banks of classrooms are the learning labs with courtyards that bring natural light into the center of the building.

The Lab Schools value knowledge as expressed by the cantilevered library that defines the very public entry from the street. Tucked under this form is the gathering space where students connect with their teachers in the morning and re-connect with their families in the evening.

Architect of record

Joseph Chronister
FGM Architects
1211 West 22nd Street, Suite 705
Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA
Phone: 312-948-8461

Associate architect

Joseph Valerio
Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (Design Architect)
500 North Dearborn Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312-260-7300

General contractor

Lend Lease
1 N Upper Wacker Dr, #850
Chicago, IL 60606, USA
Phone: 312-245-1000

Consultant 1

Rubinos & Mesia Engineers
200 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60604, USA
Phone: 312-870-6600

Consultant 2

35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1800
Chicago, IL 60601, USA
Phone: 312-849-5610

Consultant 3

100 S Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312-606-0910

Consultant 4

HJ Kessler Associates Inc
3660 N Lake Shore Drive, Suite 501
Chicago, IL 60613
Phone: 773-975-6467


Barbara Karant
Karant+Associates, Inc.
53330 W. Winnemac Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630, USA
Phone: 312-733-0891

Photographer 2

Chris Kirzeder
Chris Kirzeder Photography
2646 West Farwell Ave
Chicago, IL 60645
Phone: 708-369-6689