Gwendolyn Brooks and Percy Julian Middle Schools

Oak Park, Illinois

  • FIRM

    OWP/P Architects


    Oak Park Elementary School District 97

  • AREA

    175,000 sq.ft.





Because the existing middle schools were on tight urban sites, Oak Park Elementary School District 97 decided to build new schools reconfigured for grades 6 to 8 on the existing sites. The design solution required creative plans and phased construction around the existing buildings, which remained in use during construction.

The buildings are organized around a main ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY900COST PER SQ FT$120.00CITATIONMiddle School CitationFEATURED IN2003 Architectural Portfolio spine that connects team areas with shared exploratory and public spaces. Each school is designed for 950 students, with team areas for five teachers and about 120 students each. Team areas house four academic classrooms, a science lab, a small-group space and teachers’ room. An additional classroom for foreign language or special education, adjacent to each team area, is available to students from any team. Students leave their assigned areas for exploratory activities, physical education and lunch.

The architect designed a “kit of parts” solution for each school that meets the educational philosophy for grades 6 to 8 and is equitable in programs, yet can be varied to meet the specific needs of each site.

“The buildings have a very clear plan with a well-organized main circulation spine that connects clearly separate team areas. Brings daylight into the building even with its compact footprint.”--2003 jury