SOS Children's Village Lavezzorio Community Center

Chicago, Illinois
Studio Gang Architects

Donated materials lead to innovative exterior concrete design.

Set on a donated sliver of land between two elevated train lines in Chicago’s South Side, the Lavezzorio Community Center in the SOS Children’s Village makes both a visual and actual connection between the village’s housing complex for children to the south, and the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood to the north.

SOS Children's Village Lavezzorio Community Center
Photo © Steve Hall-Hedrich Blessing
Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

The Lavezzorio Community Center opened in 2007. Its purpose is to reunite siblings in foster-care families, provide housing and services for those families, and offer educational enrichment and activities for families. The building’s program includes family counseling offices, after-school program space, a daycare, administrative offices, a recreational room, an exterior play area, and a multi-purpose community room that serves the residents of the SOS Children’s Village housing development, as well as the adjacent neighborhood.

The limited budget for the two-story, 16,800-square-foot project led to unconventional applications of ordinary materials. Many in-kind material donations, such as concrete, were utilized to complete the building. The large striated exterior concrete wall was created in an unprecedented use of cast-in-place concrete.

The mix design for each successive pour includes Portland cement mix, fly ash, and slag-aggregates. The horizontal layers appear like strata in rock. Structurally, the tiered concrete walls created strength within each layer, making cantilevers possible.

Carefully positioned large-scale glazing provides vistas to active program areas, both inside and out. The second floor community room windows overlook the streetscape below, with its townhouses with turrets, and orange and white broadcast tower. On the ground floor, a corner opening creates the primary entrance on Parnell Avenue. It faces centralized green space and village homes.

A wide staircase in the lobby doubles as classroom seating and an impromptu stage for performances. The entwined stairs crisscross the lobby and connect to the large community room and computer lab on the second floor. Their geometry and scale, intended to activate the space, acts as a giant three-dimensional jungle gym for children to navigate.

Formal name of project: SOS Children's Village Lavezzorio Community Center

1212 N. Ashland, Suite 212
Chicago, IL 60622

Gross square footage: 16,800 sq. ft.

Total construction cost: $3.5 million

Completion Date: October 2007

SOS Children’s Villages Illinois

Studio Gang Architects
1212 N. Ashland Avenue, Suite 212
Chicago, IL 60622
T: 773-384-1212
F: 773-384-0231

share: more »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
----- Advertising -----
View all