The Earl Shapiro Early Childhood Center at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools has received LEED Silver certification for its environmentally friendly design and construction.
The 130,000-square-foot facility, three-story facility has 34 classrooms and learning labs for students in preschool through second grade. It received 43 of 79 points from the U.S. Green Building Council to achieve the Silver rating.
The project optimizes energy performance, uses sustainable materials and incorporates daylighting in a majority of the interior spaces.
In 2014, the jury for American School & University's Architectural Portfolio described the Shapiro Center as a "stunning urban solution" and awarded the project a William W. Caudill Citation as the competition's best K-12 project.
The classrooms are designed to be flexible and encourage interaction through shared breakout rooms and are organized around a central open air courtyard, FGM says. The central interior space admits light into the central areas of the building, creating a safe place for students and fostering a sense of belonging.
Outdoor play spaces, the gym, art and music rooms and the library are important destinations for students outside the classroom.