Studio C at Lake Zurich High School

Studio C is designed for students by the students. The architects brought students, teachers, and administrators into a discussion focusing on “what function(s) does the school need and which stakeholder(s) must this space cater to?” It was quickly discovered that a student space for peer-to-peer collaboration was to be the focus.

While the High School’s curriculum required group projects and space for peer-to-peer collaboration, it lacked workspaces that facilitated these activities. The cafeteria was noisy and sterile, without comfortable furnishings conducive to group work; school librarians frowned upon discussion. The designers continued by asking the students and teachers for input on where they currently collaborate on projects; Starbucks and the local public library were the resounding response.  Further inquiry revealed those places were comfortable, flexible, and encouraged discussion.

Highly visible and located in the core of the school, Studio C is easily accessed by students throughout the day.
Student space for peer-to-peer collaboration
High performance translucent skylights flood the space with natural light. They reduce the demand on artificial lighting system while maintaining minimal heat loss and controlling glare for the use of screen based technology in the space.
Warm and inviting materials along with comfortable, varied seating entice students to drop in.
Student space for peer-to-peer collaboration

Student space for peer-to-peer collaboration

The students played an enormous role throughout the design process and helped to create an environment where students are able to collaborate and interact in various size groups in a playful and professional looking space. The new, student-centered workspace offers various seating options for different sized groups. Further enhancing the space for peer-to-peer collaboration, students can write on the walls or screencast.

Natural light & finishes

An additional challenge in this project was bringing the outside-in. The use of high-performance, translucent skylights introduce daylighting to a “landlocked” space at the center of the existing building. Custom-millwork finishes that were left with a raw finish express the variation in the nature of the materials and provide a sense of the warmth and intrigue that the irregularity of outdoor landscapes can induce.

21st Century Learners shine

The openness and flexibility of the space for peer-to-peer collaboration, vibrant colors, natural finishes, digital connectivity that allows real-time investigation or collaboration, and brainstorming areas all combine to provide a modern, professional space that allows students to collaboratively investigate a problem or question, work together appropriately, and share findings in a multitude of unique approaches that all support each of the 21st Century Learners attributes.

Custom-millwork finishes were left with a raw appearance to express the variation of nature and provide a sense of the warmth and intrigue that the irregularity of outdoor landscapes can induce The live-edge countertops are sustainably-harvested, reclaimed urban wood that is sourced, finished and fabricated locally.
The entire space features LED lighting, zoned to allow for task and area specific dimming of fixtures. The lights are also a color temperature conducive to work environments.
The combination of angled and curved hard surfaces at different projections, along with a variety of soft surfaces all work together to keep noise problems at bay, even while open to the corridor.
Warm and inviting materials along with comfortable, varied seating entice students to drop in.
Custom-millwork finishes were left with a raw appearance to express the variation of nature and provide a sense of the warmth and intrigue that the irregularity of outdoor landscapes can induce The live-edge countertops are sustainably-harvested, reclaimed urban wood that is sourced, finished and fabricated locally.
Student space for peer-to-peer collaboration
The entire space features LED lighting, zoned to allow for task and area specific dimming of fixtures. The lights are also a color temperature conducive to work environments.
With zoned areas for introspective work, one-on-one collaboration, and small group collaboration, the renovated space provides many tools for peer-to-peer work. These varied opportunities for learning touch the necessary communication skills found in the Common Core literacy standards for English/Language Arts classes and within the technical/scientific literature standards.

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