Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School | Innovation Lab

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School prides itself in celebrating curiosity, creativity, and innovation. The design team created a classroom that challenges students and teachers to celebrate collaborative and innovative learning. The team considered the acceleration of technology development and wanted to dispose of any preconceived notions on classroom design. Within zones, a teacher might transition from a multi surface projector to smart screens which can pick up images or ideas present on a student’s IPAD. The team chose to celebrate the natural simplicity of birch plywood in many of the unique architectural features, include a reading cave, a living wall, and a custom designed collaborative learning table – the “Big Amoeba.” The reading cave, created with the molded plywood and a comforting cushion upholstered with felt, was meant to entice students to get lost in a book. The living wall allows students to remove a hanging pot and monitor growth of their own plant life. Finally, the center of the lab revolves around the custom designed “Big Amoeba” table in which the soft plywood curves and circular openings make for ideal gathering surfaces while inspiring curiosity and wonder through it’s playful shape.

Architect of Record

Eckenhoff Saunders Architects

Associate Architect

Wonder, by Design


Bernard Anshe Emet Day School

General Contractor



  • dbHMS