U Chicago Child Development Center Drexel

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

Serving the families of the University and neighboring community, the U Chicago Child Development Center Drexel, a LEED Gold Certified building, is the University’s first childcare center.  Situated on a developing edge of campus, the site may be used for future Medical Center expansion.  Known for combining historic buildings and innovative architecture, the clients and architects worked to develop a language creating a playful environment that fits into the campus.

The center includes administrative spaces, multipurpose room and nine classrooms for infants, toddlers, young preschoolers and preschoolers in 12,710 square feet.  Each classroom has direct access to an outdoor playground.  Large windows and Solatubes bring natural light into the classroom spaces.

Many sustainable features of the building including a graphic film applied to the large expanses of glass, designed to prevent bird collisions while allowing the use of natural lighting, reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day.  Sustainable strategies include a high performance building envelope, maximized daylighting and views, lighting controls with occupancy sensors, white reflective and vegetative roof, low flow plumbing fixtures, and energy efficient HVAC design.  Many materials have high recycled content and are all low VOC products.

Architect of Record

Ross Barney Architects


University of Chicago and Bright Horizons

General Contractor

Pepper Construction


  • Primera Engineers
  • Goodfriend Magruder