Monday, September 20, 2010

Gary Comer College Prep, John Ronan Architects

click images for larger view
It started in 2006 with the opening of the Gary Comer Youth Center/South Shore Drill Team building in the Grand Crossing neighborhood where the late Lands' End founder grew up.  Designed by John Ronan Architects, it deployed a strong profile and vibrant blocks of color to create an instant landmark.
The perforated metal fencing that enclosed the parade grounds and parking lot of the Youth Center became a long horizontal root down South Chicago Avenue that has now blossomed into a screen around the entrance of a second building, also designed by Ronan, for the new $20 million, 42,000 square foot  Gary Comer College Prep charter school, which opened earlier this month. 
Beneath the screen, the base of the building to the south and north, and bracketing the two-story, glass enclosed lobby to the east, are aluminum panels in a bright chartreuse, providing a solid foundation and counterpoint to the corrugated steel siding that makes up the balance of the facades.
The chartreuse is also used for the window and door frames on the west elevation, as well as for the vertical metal mesh fencing panels that curve around a small sustainable gateway park on the corner, proclaiming the neighborhood's name in large, free-standing letters along the top.

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