University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Gordon Parks Arts Hall

Chicago, Illinois

  • FIRM

    FGM Architects Inc.


    University of Chicago

  • AREA

    90,000 sq.ft.





Design team
FGM Architects: Joseph Chronister, AIA, LEED AP (Principal-in-Charge); Terrence Owens, AIA (Project Manager); James Woods, AIA, ALEP, LEED AP (Programmer/Planner); Jack Krezel (Senior Project Architect)

VDTA: Joseph Valerio, FAIA (Design Principal); Randy Mattheis, AIA (Principal-in-Charge); Sheri Andrews, AIA, LEED ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMValerio Dewalt Train Associates, Inc.CAPACITY2,140COST PER SQ FT$544.00CITATIONSpecial Citation, Specialized Facility CitationFEATURED IN2016 Architectural Portfolio BD+C (Project Manager)

Additional Team Members: Steve Droll, AIA; Robert Weber, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; Matt Gamache, AIA, LEED AP; Stephen Killion, SEGD, AIGA

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, one of the premier preK-12 schools in the nation, is nearing completion of an eight-year project to renew its facilities. It achieved a major milestone in 2015 by completing the Gordon Parks Arts Hall (GPAH). Serving the middle and high school arts program, the building provides spaces for music and performing arts education, including a 750-seat assembly hall, a black box theater, a studio theater, an art gallery, and a recording studio.
The GPAH geometry is a modern reflection of the historic Lab Schools’ gothic architecture, with floor-to-ceiling glass along the north façade that fills the classrooms and studio spaces with natural light.
The GPAH design process benefited from an extensive research effort. Teachers, staff, students, and parents, along with education thought leaders from around the world, were engaged to articulate a vision of arts education that would spark student curiosity, inquiry, and creativity. Improving the number, range, and quality of arts-related learning environments, the GPAH supports the Laboratory Schools’ desire to “present art as a language with unique expressive powers” to all its students.