Chicago Center for Arts and Technology(CHICAT)
What was originally a hulking hardware equipment factory built in 1908 on Chicago’s Southwest Side was gutted, cleaned up, and transformed into what used to be called a “voc-tech” school. The goal of CHICAT, which opened in 2017, is to connect technology, art, and the community, and to provide job skills to low-income teens and adults. The four-story, 30,000-square-foot brick building features colorful workshops and studios where students learn everything from 3-D car design, to food safety, to video game programming. They are surrounded by a wealth of examples of sustainable materials and energy- and water-saving features.
In spring 2020, the Illinois PPE Network borrowed CHICAT’s 3D printers to create face shields for frontline hospital workers treating coronavirus patients.
Green Upgrade Details
During the rehab, the building was upgraded top to bottom for energy efficiency. The roof now sports solar panels and a reflective coating. A new layer of insulation on both roof and walls keeps heat inside on cold winter days. Occupancy sensors cue lights to turn off when a room is vacant. The school’s low-flow kitchen and bathroom fixtures provide water efficiency as well.
The structure’s original wood ceilings and salvaged wood panels coexist with walls and floors covered with colorful, non-toxic paints. Extra-large windows, some overlooking the City skyline, add abundant daylight. The main approach to the Center is a tree-lined, trellised walkway with native landscaping, leading to a staircase and “social terrace.” At the top of the stairs is a glass-enclosed entrance and art gallery where the old loading dock once stood. There are two outdoor courtyards as well.
CHICAT was awarded LEED Gold certification.
Landon Bone Baker Architects
Bulley & Andrews