Skip to main content

Cesar E. Chávez Multicultural Academic Center


4747 S. Marshfield Ave.


Back of the Yards / New City


Ross Barney Architects, 1993



Topped with a pyramidal window that serves as “a beacon for the community,” says Ross Barney Architects, the Cesar E. Chávez MAC won a host of awards following its completion in 1993 for its colorful design and creative use of durable, inexpensive materials. While Chávez serves a 950-student population that is almost entirely low-income and Hispanic, ranging from pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade, “the school is among the most advanced in Chicago at executing and implementing blended instructional approaches at scale,” according to education-centered nonprofit organization Next Generation Learning Challenges. Lead architect Carol Ross Barney intentionally involved area families while outlining the project, initiated in 1989 following acclaim for Ross Barney’s post office for west suburban Glendale Heights. Blair Kamin, architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, called Chávez “that rare thing: a work of architecture that inspires joy as well as respect.”