Gary Comer College Prep Winner

Distinguished Building Award, Citation of Merit

The spring green-colored metal cladding of this charter high school in a gritty Chicago neighborhood reflects the youth and optimism of its faculty and students. Comprised of classrooms, offices and support spaces, the school shares facilities with an adjacent Youth Center where students use the gymnasium, cafeteria, music and art rooms.
Perforated metal siding on the building exterior serves as a sunscreen to reduce heat gain, and provides an optical effect which allows clear views from the interior while maintaining visual privacy and security from outside, in a neighborhood with a history of violence.
Glass walls between the hallway and classrooms reinforce the school’s philosophy of transparency and accountability, to reflect the school’s ideals and shape its culture. Extensive skylights bring abundant natural light into the building interior, and indirectly through the glass corridor walls into the classroom, allowing each classroom to receive daylight from two directions.
A protected outdoor plaza allows students to congregate away from the street; this plaza leads to a walkway that extends to the adjacent youth center, with which it forms a campus. An extensive architect-designed interior graphics package reinforces the school’s ethos and inspires students to academic achievement.

John Ronan Architects
Comer Science and Education Foundation
  • Goodfriend Magruder Structure LLC
  • Terra Engineering, Ltd.
  • WMA Consulting Engineers, Ltd.
General contractor
Norcon, Inc.
Chicago, IL