Chicago Public Schools needed aggressive outcomes in the revitalization of Dodge School into modern offices and a training center. The school, a vacant, run-down 1960s era building in the gang-infested Garfield Park community, was  rejuvenated into appealing, vibrant offices.

A considerable hurdle to this adaptive re-use project was the need to transform the school’s cave-like corridors into a modern workplace environment. RADA creates an open and transparent workspace, with abundant natural light. Brightly colored carpets guide people through the space. The design embraces affordability with respect to the environment: part of HVAC system was re-used. Student artwork was salvaged and reinstalled as a part of the décor.

Another challenge was to meet the needs of 30 administrative departments – each with different programs – with complexity for standardizing workspaces. RADA organizes departments into a series of neighborhoods along the new circulation spine, departing from the old school plan. Conference and training rooms are clustered around a new elevator core with shared facilities and informal gathering spaces. The building is designed for 300 occupants on three floors.

Awards and Recognitions

  • “Reuse, Rejuvenate, Reimagine: Dodge School’s Adaptive Reuse,” Chicago Architect Magazine, January/February 2016
  • “From Midcentury Modern School to a 21st Century Office” (Course No. T320), NeoCon 2016, Chicago
  • “Adaptive Reuse: From Midcentury School to a 21st Century Office,” Communicating Across Cultures/Past, Present and Future, AIA International Conference, Girne, 2016

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