Galewood Elementary School

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

This three-story steel and concrete structure is punctuated by a soaring glass and wood panel-clad multi-use space that creates a vibrant, visually appealing identity to reflects this charter school's strong community-based vision for aspiring achievement within its community. The 56,000-square-feet Galewood Elementary School accommodates 600 students and is located in the working class neighborhood of Austin on Chicago’s West Side.

Its signature space is a cutting-edge digital library. Decentralized, flexible classrooms allow students to work in groups, present their ideas, strengthen collaboration and build confidence. The school’s design, developed by the architects in concert with its pedagogy, encourages students to configure spaces to suit their needs, teaching them to actively and critically engage their environment.

Generous community spaces accommodate after-school activities such as yoga, fitness classes and community meetings, catalyzing change in an overcrowded neighborhood where community spaces are scarce.

LEED Silver features reduce the project’s energy, water, and carbon footprint while teaching children about environmental stewardship. Operable classroom windows control temperature and fresh air. Classrooms use daylight harvesting with coordinated sensors to eliminate unnecessary artificial lighting. Precast concrete panels are made from recycled materials while wood-veneered phenolic-resin-core panels shade the library windows from the southern sun.

Architect of Record

UrbanWorks, Ltd.


FH Paschen

General Contractor

FH Paschen


  • CE Anderson & Associates
  • CivCon Services
  • Eco Vidal Design