University of Chicago Child Development

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UChicago Child Development Center Stony Island



A Natural Place to Begin Life Long Learning When faced with the question “How do you design a day care for the children of future Nobel laureates?”, one approach held promise. Instead of creating another place dominated by primary colors and synthetic play equipment, children could be offered an opportunity to discover natural phenomena in the natural world. There, they would discover first principles first-hand, surrounded by minimally processed natural materials.

UChicago Child Development Center Stony Island Owner University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois www.uchicago.edu

MEP and Civil Engineer Primera Engineering Chicago, Illinois www.primeraeng.com

Operator Bright Horizons Watertown, Massachusetts www.brighthorizons.com

Structural Engineer Thornton-Tomasetti Chicago, Illinois www.thorntontomasetti.com

Architecture Wheeler Kearns Architects Chicago, Illinois www.wkarch.com

Acoustician Threshold Acoustics, LLC Chicago, Illinois www.thresholdacoustics.com

Landscape Architect MIG Berkeley, California www.migcom.com General Contractor Leopardo Hoffman Estates, Illinois www.leopardo.com

Consequently, the Child Development Center emphasizes the natural landscape over the built-one, centered around two playcourts with a footprint larger than the building itself. The playcourts conceptually graft onto the historic Frederick Law Olmsted landscape located across the street in Jackson Park. Natural materials, constructed from either the atmosphere (trees, plants, wood) or from the earth (boulders, rocks, sand), dominate. Boulders, some weighing as much as 90,000 pounds, were imported from the glacial till of central Wisconsin to create boundaries, pathways, and age-appropriate climbing opportunities. Waving layers of three different Midwestern stones fill gabion fences that encircle the east playcourt, ensuring visual privacy without creating a fortress. Natural bark siding, harvested from Yellow Poplar trees in North Carolina, clad the east wing. The Z-shaped building’s east wing provides spaces for infants and toddlers, while the west wing is dedicated to older children. Each age group has tandem classrooms with doors that open directly onto adjacent age-appropriate outdoor play areas. Low fences subdivide the playcourts, allowing younger children to readily observe older children while ensuring the exclusivity of their own environment. The playcourts offer shapes, textures, and experiences to engage. Rainwater cascades from the folded plate roof into splash tanks. A squash house, a live willow tunnel, a trike path, and sand and water zones encourage exploration. Different surfaces invite children to crawl, roll, ride, climb and walk-to experience their bodies moving in nature. Each playcourt includes a working garden where children learn about growing and harvesting food, nutrition, and sustainability. Chimes, fashioned from bamboo and copper, await a curious thump. The playcourts are used during all four seasons.


STRATEGIC INFILL The siting of the eastern wing, situated within the shadow of the adjacent 19-story residential tower, preserves as much sun for its playcourt as possible. Conversely, west of the tower, the wing is located to the north so that its playcourt can enjoy a generous exposure to the southern sun. The 13,300 square foot facility is more “lookwithin-me” than “look-at-me.” Rather than competing with the size or glamour of the adjacent University buildings, the focus of the center remains on the child’s perspective and outdoor play. Consequently, the richness of experience hugs the ground.





COMMUNITY The purpose of the building is to build human capital and community. First, it provides the University an exceptional child care option for competitively recruited faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. Secondly, it promotes social connections among new University parents who often work in different academic disciplines. While a generous lobby overlooking the east playcourt serves as the building’s emotional center and main social hub, other spaces such as a semiprivate room for nursing mothers and wide corridors lined with benches support impromptu interactions. The site borders a major commuter rail line to the west. With multiple major bus lines stopping along Stony Island Avenue, the site is well served by public transportation. Ample bicycle parking is provided for parents able to commute from the Hyde Park neighborhood.





INTEGRATING NATURE At the facility’s emotional center, formed by the overlap of the two classroom wings, families check-in by using a touch-screen monitor and connect with care providers. From this central location, children get a preview of their day: Full-height windows reveal the east play court as the natural bark siding extends inside. The adjacent gross motor room, ďŹ lled with an array of activities, has a wall of glass revealing the west play court. The folding roof ripples over both wings, allowing natural light into the classrooms below. Unlike most green roofs, the one covering the east wing is readily visible from the ground. If children learn what they live, they will not only learn from nature here, but they will learn to value it. The center is infused with this spirit. Additionally, the curriculum of the center is fully integrated with the mission.




1. Raised garden boxes

7. Sand Play

2. Green Roof

8. Willow tunnel with tree cookie paving

3. Splash tanks below valleys

9. Gabion fence

4. Bark Siding

10. Musical Chimes

5. Clerestory

11. Glacial Boulders

6. Solar Reective Roof

12. Permeable Pavers Vehicular drop-off


SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES At the facility’s emotional center, where the two wings overlap, families check-in using a touch-screen monitor and connect with care providers. From this central location, children get a preview of their day: Full-height windows reveal the east play court as the natural bark siding extends inside. The adjacent gross motor room, filled with an array of activities, has a wall of glass revealing the west play court. The folding roof ripples over both wings, allowing natural light into the classrooms below. Unlike most green roofs, the one covering the east wing is readily visible from the ground. If children learn what they live, they will not only learn from nature here, but they will learn to value it. The center is infused with this spirit. The curriculum of the center is fully integrated with the mission. The facility was certified LEED Gold.



Energy Savings Comparison of the energy usage of UChicago’s Child Development Center Stony Island with that of an ASHRAE 90 1-2007 High Performance Analog. The majority of increased energy savings accrues from the intelligent operation of the building’s ventilation fans.

Electrical Usage Comparison of the electrical energy usage of UChicago’s Child Development Center Stony Island with that of an ASHRAE 90 1-2007 High Performance Analog. The greatest savings accrue in winter due to efficient ventilation.

50,000

24,000 280

40,000

20,000

240 30,000

16,000

200 20,000

160

12,000

10,000

120 8,000 0

80

-10,000

4,000

40

-20,000

0

0 Stony Elec

Stony Gas

Baseline Elec

Baseline Gas

Energy Delta

Primary heating

Water Heating

Cooling Compressor

Condensor Fans

Air Supply Fans

Pumps

Lighting

Receptacles

February CDD65

June

April 90.1 kWh

Designed kWh

August

October

December


Bioclimatic Design The exterior wall framing was insulated behind the gypsum sheathing with spray foam to provide an air tight barrier. Furring strips for the exterior cladding, which were fabricated to minimize thermal shorts, were installed over insulating sheathing. A green roof covers the east wing, and a reflective membrane roof covers the west wing.

Water Cycle Impact of rain water falling on the site of the UChicago Child Development Center before and after the construction for both 2-year and 100-year storm events. By reducing both rain water runoff and allowing on-site ground water recharging, a site that formerly discharged 100% of its runoff to the City’s sewers will now only discharge storm water for 11% of the storms occurring during an average two-year period.

Exterior Playspace The amount of secure exterior playspace provided at the UChicago Stony Island Child Development Center exceeds code minimums and NAEYC standards for both staggered and concurrent use of the play courts.

7,000

100-Year Storm Designed Provided

6,000

5,000

100-Year Storm Prior Concurrent Play Requirement

4,000

3,0000

2-Year Storm Designed

Staggered Play NAEYC Requirement

2,000

1,0000

2-Year Storm Prior

Staggered Play Code Requirement

0 2008

2009

Heating degree days

2010

2011

Cooling degree days

2012

2013

0

2000

4000

Non Infiltrated Runoff (cf)

6000

8000

10000

12000

Infiltrated Volume (cf)

14000

0

2000 Area (sf)

4000

6000

8000

10000 12000 14000








CONSTRUCTION PROCESS

BackďŹ lled concrete foundations of the east wing. December 2012

Roof deck installation over the west wing. January 2013


Installation of the hydronic tubing for the radiant oors. January 2013

Wall studs installed along the West Playcourt. February 2013

Grading of the East Playcourt. June 2013

Final landscaping of the West Playcourt. June 2013


BOULDER INSTALLATION

Clay study model of boulder placements. February 2013

Panorama of site at the start of the second day of setting boulders. The

Surveying boulder number ďŹ ve in subzero conditions in Central Wisconsin. January 2013

Picking boulder number six


100-ton crane was staged in the East Playcourt. May 2013

Off-loading boulder number ďŹ ve

Setting boulder number six


Early study models of four different schemes presented in June 2011. The eventual Z-shaped scheme, depicted with a rolling roof, is shown at the upper left.


A study model, made in February 2012, depicting the eventual massing




UChicago Child Development Center Stony Island