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United States of America
Located near Lincoln Square in Chicago, the 85,000 SF Lycée Française de Chicago has been conceived as a unique educational campus with light-filled spaces intended to encourage educational discovery and shared environments aimed to celebrate the Lycée’s international community.
The project’s key concept revolves around the creation of a shared learning environment in which to celebrate the vibrant Lycée community. Intended to engage faculty and students across all grade levels, this Social Learning Fabric space manifests itself through a majestic four-story atrium.
The Lycée is situated in one of Chicago’s most dynamic and culturally relevant neighborhoods, where the school aims to cultivate community partnerships. The campus has a private drive, and college-preparatory facilities equipped to serve up to 800 students with 41 classrooms, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, a library, administrative offices, playgrounds, a soccer field, and ample space for outdoor athletic activities. The new LEED certified project has been a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Due to the development’s budgetary objectives, the project has been conceived with extreme efficiencies in mind, making it one of the most cost effective educational projects built in Chicago.
It’s within the framework of these ambitious budgetary goals that the new Lycée Français de Chicago represents a great example of how a deliberately restrained design approach can produce architecture of outstanding quality, and that an economy of expressive means can generate magnificent architecture rooted in simplicity and in the essential qualities inherent to any great building: light and air, proportion and color, circulation and arrangement
Sustainable Design Intent and Innovation
Although budget was a driving factor in the project feasibility, both the Owner and the Architect were committed to sustainability as an important component of the project design. It began with the selection of a site that had been occupied by a long-abandoned hospital, which was environmentally remediated and prepped for the new building. The site is located in a dense urban residential neighborhood with existing transportation infrastructure and within walking distance to a multitude of amenities including theatres, grocery stores, parks, restaurants, a library and a post office, making it an excellent choice from a sustainability view. The subsequent site planning ensured an increase in pervious site area and open space, and a reduction in paved area overall.
Building siting, window placement and skylighting at the atrium help to reduce daytime lighting requirements, and a combination of cool white reflective roof and green roof help to mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect, reduce energy use and manage stormwater. The LEED-certified building uses a custom-designed exterior wall with a thermal performance that exceeds the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline. This custom exterior wall system is composed of a simple, flat insulated metal panel that, while extraordinarily cost-effective, provides an extremely energy-efficient enclosure. This base layer is wrapped with a floating perforated skin that gives depth and variation to the façade, provides shading and obscures the glazing behind it by day, but allows the light from within to softly permeate through at night.
Interior spaces were designed with materials that would reduce indoor pollutants and have long lifespans, and that required little maintenance. The Owner committed to a Green Cleaning program to reduce pollutants introduced through maintenance processes. Because learning spaces must allow students to maintain focus and communicate effectively, the acoustics were especially important, and all learning spaces were acoustically isolated from adjacent spaces with a minimum STC 54 construction and were provided with ceilings with NRC ratings of 0.7 and 0.85.
Careful selections of Mechanical and Electrical systems further reduced energy needs for a total energy savings of 37% and a total energy cost savings of 27%. Since restroom use is the major driver of water use in a school, the selection of low-flow and metered plumbing fixtures was critical, and allowed us to reduce our water use by 70%, which significantly reduced the energy required for domestic water heating. Landscape plantings were chosen for drought-resistance and no irrigation system was provided.
The resulting building provides the School and the Community with a responsibly-designed school that contributes to the overall health and welfare of not only the building occupants but also the larger community. With an excellent building and 1300 new members joining this community, the Lycee brings substantial and positive change to the Ravenswood neighborhood
The Lycee Français exceeded its energy efficiency and carbon reduction goals through both passive and active strategies. Passive strategies include building siting with ample windows for daylighting, high performance glass, window films, green roof, cool roof, high-value continuous insulation outboard of the wall framing, and perforated metal screening.
Active strategies include a highly efficient HVAC system, high efficiency light fixtures, LED lamps, advanced lighting controls with daylight adjustment, and obtaining electrical power from renewable sources.
The LEED certified building uses a custom-designed exterior wall with a thermal performance that exceeds the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline and which, in conjunction with the cool, reflective white TPO roof, helps the building achieve an overall Energy Star rating of 93. The outer wall consists of an insulated metal panel wall, which provides excellent performance on its own, coupled with a perforated metal screening that shades the wall and dramatically reduces the summer energy needs reduced without affecting winter energy needs.
The site EUI of 34 is a 41% reduction in the national median site EUI for K-12 schools, and the source EUI of 52 is 63% better than the national median property EUI.
Additionally, the Lycee has contracted to have 70% of the building’s power come from renewable sources. To further help with energy efficiency, each of the four VAV RTUs serving the academic portion of the building are outfitted with an Energy Recovery Ventilator, reducing the energy needed by the high ventilation load required for classrooms. The gym is served by a dedicated, staged volume RTU with DCV and the administrative wing is served by a VAV RTU with DCV.
A high efficiency lighting design gives a 46% performance improvement over ASHRAE 90.1-2007, giving a cascading performance improvement in the HVAC system energy usage. Exterior building and site lighting was kept to a minimum to reduce both energy consumption and light pollution.
When searching for an appropriate location for their new school, the Lycee Français looked for a site that supported the culture and values of their school community. Paramount was to stay within the boundaries of the City of Chicago in order to have easy access to the existing infrastructure and cultural opportunities offered by a major metropolitan area. To support their students who were dependent on public transportation to get to and from school, the Lycee wanted to find a site that was well-supported by both bus and train lines. Their open campus policy for older students required that the building be located in an area that provided nearby shops, restaurants and other gathering spaces for the students.
The site eventually selected at Damen and Wilson Avenues in Chicago met all of their demands for location: a half block from an El station, served by buses on both Damen and Wilson, with shops and independent businesses nearby.
The site housed an abandoned hospital located in a struggling institutional planned development on the Northwest side of Chicago. The 6-story cast-in place concrete structure was a significant problem in the community; its dilapidated and boarded up presence adjacent to an active medical office building and residential housing was a prominent negative presence on the street. Water damage from broken windows had contributed to mold and mildew in the building.
The new Lycee Francais building, with its bright red windows and colorful grade-level window graphics, is an interactive member of the streetscape, with a positive effect on the neighborhood. The building is close to dozens of local businesses and has a Walking Score of 91 and a Bike Score of 8. Now integrated into this thriving community, the new Lycee Français has brought over a thousand new community members to the neighborhood, supporting the success and growth of the local business community.
At the corner of Wilson and Damen Avenues in Chicago, the project is served by the Brown Line rail’s Damen stop just a half block away and by both the Wilson and Damen bus lines, which have stops adjacent to the site. As a result of this connectivity with public transport, parking is able to be limited to that required by the existing Planned Development requirements for the site, a total of 120 parking spaces for the 1300 occupants, or .09 spaces/occupant.
Chicago prides itself on its support of biking as an alternative transport. To support alternative transportation, 27 bicycle parking spaces are provided on the site adjacent to entrances.
Exemplary water management is a best practice in Chicago, and 100% of precipitation is managed on site through a variety of strategies. These strategies include absorption and detention in the green roof system, percolation into the ground at pervious paving and planting locations and detention in an underground stormwater storage system. In order to reduce the project impact on the city sewer system, the site permeability was increased by 26% . This reduced the required volume of the stormwater storage structure detention structure, helping to manage all of the stormwater on site with a lower investment of money, materials and resources.
Reducing our demand for and use fresh water is one of the most pressing global issues. The Lycee project achieved a potable water use reduction of greater than 70%. This reduction was achieved through the use of low-flow and metered fixtures and xerographic planting, which allowed the elimination of landscape watering. The final result of these measures is a potable water use of 7.6 gallons/sf/year.
Prior to the development of the Lycee, the project site housed an abandoned hospital. The 6-story cast-in place concrete and brick masonry building was in dilapidated condition, with mold and mildew damage from leaks and broken windows. After it was determined that the building was not suitable for adaptive reuse for the School, the cast-in-place concrete structure was environmentally abated and demolished. To help reduce the over 500 million tons of Construction Waste in the United states each year, the steel reinforcing was separated from the concrete and recycled, while the concrete and masonry was crushed and re-used on site to fill in the abandoned basements.
Interior finishes and materials can bring VOCs and other pollutants into the building and often have relatively short lives that end in a landfill. The use of exposed concrete for public area floors reduced the amount of applied flooring utilized in the project by over 25%. These exposed concrete floors, together with exposed concrete stair walls and aluminum and glass windows and storefronts, are utilized throughout the project on the interiors. Not only are these materials inert, contributing no VOCs or pollutants to the interior, they have exceptionally long life cycles and are readily recyclable. The concrete floors will last the life of the building, and the aluminum and glass window walls have a life exceeding 50 years. Gypsum board is manufactured from reclaimed and recycled material and finished with paints meeting the Greenseal GS-11 requirements to ensure low VOC content. Carpet, used in limited areas, is certified cradle-to-cradle and, where wood is used, it is through FSC-certified sources and is finished with water-based coatings.
Design Architect (FIRM)