Apologies for the slow rate of posts the past few weeks, as first work became overwhelming, and I then withdrew from the world for a week of much-needed vacation. In any case, look for a few, briefer hits the next couple weeks as we work to catch-up on some small projects.
Officer Donald Marquez Charter School is one of two green school renovations underway by the United Neighborhood Organiozation (UNO). This first project is housed in a former Misericordia home for disabled children in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood. The two & four story, 58,150 sf building is opening this fall as a charter elementary school for 520 students, operated by the UNO Charter School Network. The project is seeking LEED Silver certification.
The Boocoo Cultural Center and Cafe in Evanston's 5th Ward was built to engage the community at a local level in many different ways. The 5000 square foot facility, previously a gas station, grocer, and dollar store, now contains a music school, recording studio, 125-seat performance space, yoga and fitness classes, and a cafe specializing in organic and free-trade fare. Boocoo, in the words of its director Carolina Pfister, aims to be "a long lasting model of sustainability while catering to human health, intellect, and happiness." The building boasts several traditional green elements such as permeable pavers, and some that are more unique, like insulation made from recycled blue jeans. But as it turns out, the greenest features of this building are rooted in Boocoo's commitment to all things local.
Green Armitage is a new five-story residential building, with a first-floor commercial space and eight 1200-1300 sf residential units above. The project has been under the eye of Chicago green building fans for a while, but appears to be finally off the ground (nearly literally). This is the rare developer-driven, market rate residential project that gets green right - starting with an emphasis on energy efficiency, then considering additional features. The building is designed to beat the latest energy code (2006 IECC) requirements by 80%, and is nearly certain to qualify for at least a LEED Silver certification (but is targeting Platinum!).
Blackhawk/Halsted is a new 150,00 sf four story speculative retail and office buiding (two floors of each) with an adjacent seven level parking garage. The project is in the already-crazy North/Halsted/Clbyourn corridor, just north of the new British School and across the street from the soon-to-be-razed (or deconstructed?) New City YMCA. The project is seeking basic LEED certification, and although the green features are fairly basic, it's nice to see another entrant in a fairly empty field - Southgate Market may be the only other green speculative (mass-market) retail project in Chicago.
The Evelyn Pease Tyner Interpretive Center is the public gateway to the 32-acre Air Station Prairie in Glenview. The 3000 square-foot Tyner Center educates visitors about the history and ecology of the local Illinois prairie ecosystem, while also serving as a showcase for the cutting edge of green building technology and techniques. The building was designed by Wight & Company and built by Pepper Construction. Lois Vitt Sale was the architect in charge of LEED issues and sustainable design. In May 2007, it became the first new building in the Chicago area to achieve LEED Platinum certification.