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We create exceptional environments that meet our clients' most complex design challenges.

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2 June 2014

HOK Design Wins Chicago Living Building Challenge Competition

Entrance View Option 2

Designers from HOK’s Chicago office recently won the 2014 School Annex Design Competition organized by the Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Chicago (LBCCC). LBCCC is a community-based group of Living Building Challenge Ambassadors that aims to encourage the development and construction of a fully certified Living Building in Chicago.

LBC-Team-2HOK team members, Lindy McAra, Justin Warner, Meredith McBride, Olia Miho, and Farid Pour were tasked with designing the ultimate, sustainable classroom building to annex the overcrowded Eli Whitney Elementary School on Chicago’s southwest side. HOK brought together members of the firm’s architecture, interior design and sustainable design studios for this cross-disciplinary competition.

HOK’s team focused on a design strategy that achieved two goals: the creation of a living facade that is also an inviting surface. The team connected the building to the site with a surface that people can sit on, walk on and see throughout the building.

An active, “living” exterior skin acts as a shading device and learning tool by changing shape based on the outside temperature. This strategy draws on the principle of bimetallic strips. When the exterior temperature rises, the panels of aluminum and oxidized copper close, thus acting as a shading device. Once the temperature cools, the panels open, which increases the quantity of light coming into the building.

The judges awarded HOK’s team the top spot in the contest on May 29. HOK’s team hopes their design concept will inspire the students and the community.

View more images of the design on Flickr.