Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

Programmatically-adaptive space and industrial building techniques are explored in this elementary school.  Built in a hybrid structure of tilt-up precast panels and steel frame to address the school’s need for economy and speed of construction, the building houses classrooms, offices, and a multi-use collective space that can be adapted to a variety of school and community-related programs. An entry courtyard if formed with an existing pre-school; security concerns are addressed in its site planning; visitors pass through the highly-visible entry courtyard to the single entrance that serves both buildings.


Precast concrete structural panels are finished in an exposed limestone aggregate finish to complement the existing limestone preschool building adjacent, while cast Hebrew letters ennoble a constructional system typically relegated to industrial buildings. The tilt-up panel construction enabled the school to complete the project in a compressed time frame imposed by its academic calendar, and addressed the school’s requirement for the perception of permanence and rootedness in the community.


Material investigations explore the iconic potential of the material and offer the school a unique identity within the larger urban community, suggesting stone tablets that strongly affirm the institution’s cultural heritage. Pre-oxidized copper panels clad the exterior walls of the entry courtyard.

Architect of Record

John Ronan Architects


Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School

General Contractor

Meyne Company (Phase 1); Levine Construction (Phase 2)


  • Robert L. Miller & Associates
  • CCJM Engineering
  • Terra Engineering, Ltd.