Chicago Children's Theatre
Located in the Near West Side, Chicago Children’s Theatre transformed an abandoned 1947 Chicago Police Station into a new cultural gem for the City. Once fulfilling a role of authority and confinement, the building is now a place of unbridled, joyful interaction with the arts. The non-profit’s first permanent home, “The Station” includes a 149-seat studio performance space, classrooms, and administration space. The two-story building was preserved in its raw state to serve as an authentic foil to new interventions. Old spaces were creatively reused for new programs, for example, the long linear room that previously served as a gun range is now used for costume storage, and the former administrative offices are now used as classrooms. The heart of “The Station” is the 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre, located in the footprint of the former jail cell block. The studio is designed with flexible seating to accommodate student performances, smaller professional shows, and Red Kite interactive theater involving students with autism. Just outside of this feature space is a lobby with an area for storytelling, waiting parents and a cafÃ© serving snacks and refreshments. The second floor is dedicated to education and contains 5 classrooms, offering diverse learning opportunities from aerial arts to STEAM. Through environmentally progressive materials and sustainable design and construction strategies, the project exceeded the initial LEED Silver goal that was part of the redevelopment agreement and achieved LEED Gold. The project reused 86% of the existing building and incorporates efficient, low-emitting new materials for all interior flooring, paints, adhesives and sealants. During construction, 95% of the on-site generated waste was recycled and diverted from landfill. For example, rather than tearing off and landfilling the old roof, a cell spray foam roof was installed directly over it, providing exceptional thermal performance, energy efficiency and added structural integrity to the existing building. The white coating on the roof reflects heat, meeting the LEED credit requirements to help reduce an urban heat island effect. The design also provides 88% of all regularly occupied spaces with daylight and views of the street. New efficient plumbing fixtures help reduce potable water use by 30.91%. A new efficient mechanical system – which includes heat recovery, demand control ventilation, and hot water reheat - helps improve indoor air quality and contributes to significant energy cost savings of 14.1%. CCT is purchasing 70.24% of its electricity through renewable sources.
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