Chicago Public Schools Central Office Relocation

Chicago, IL

Brook Architecture is a member of the professional real estate team Chicago Public Schools (CPS) selected to manage relocating the Central Office from their underutilized 20-story building into new space.

Brook developed multiple test fits for two potential spaces. CPS chose a downtown building designed by legendary architects Holabird and Roche and built in 1893. Brook hired Interior Architects, an award winning interiors firm, to assist with design, permit and construction documents. The program, design and construction details for 160,000 square feet of offices, workstations and ancillary spaces and 900 employees were completed in a compressed 6-month schedule. Construction will be completed in October and employees will move in November.

The building’s column-laden floor plan coupled with the accelerated schedule challenged the design team. Brook distilled the office standards down to two workstation sizes that use the same modular components and one standard size for almost all the private offices. The standardization allowed the design to progress while organizational adjacencies were still being developed.

Bright colors and bold graphics with student images are introduced in the lobby. The palette is carried through five floors in the escalators and upper floor reception areas and applied to floor, walls, columns, and furniture in workspaces and collaborative areas.

Officially named the Garden Level, the client wanted something special for the lower level to compensate for the lack of windows. The Garden Level will have Bio-mimicry lighting and skylight-type light fixtures that brighten the space and allow for color changes in light levels during the day that resemble natural daylight rhythms.