Architect: Kahler Slater
Owner: Elgin Community College
Contractor: LAMP Incorporated
This new educational center offers real-world hands-on experiential learning opportunities for students in the health professions and, at the same time, creates a new gateway to an established community college campus in northern Illinois. The Health & Life Sciences Building also encourages interprofessional learning and helps to redefine the college as a strong partner within the local community. A green courtyard was used as a design feature to organize the building’s program spaces and massing. Exterior building materials of brick and stone reference the traditional campus architecture. The exterior design elements and details are repeated in the interior to create a sense of unity between the indoor and outdoor spaces. The design of the building incorporates natural light, study areas near green space, interior windows to offer views into classrooms, glass walls between wings to reinforce the feeling of connection and openness, and flexible classroom environments to encourage collaborative learning. The open glass-clad building offers a striking gateway to the college and serves as a landmark for the community while raising the bar for health science education.
Jury Comment: “The quality of this building is impressive. It is well done. While the building looks very high-end, you know it can’t be that expensive. They were able to take a community college budget and make it feel like a university building. The layout and integration of the courtyard is successful in getting daylight in all the spaces. It speaks to the value these institutions are providing to their communities.”
Photos: Kate Joyce