Wolcott College Prep
524 N. Wolcott Ave.
Wheeler Kearns Architects, 2012
Wolcott College Prep adaptively reused a 1926 three-story masonry building into Chicago’s first high school singularly dedicated to students with learning differences. Designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects as the antithesis to the "one-size-fits-all" school building, Wolcott College Prep supports individual learning styles in a community environment. It provides a wide spectrum of spaces, varying in size, intimacy, and tenor, that can be adapted for specific types of learning and interaction. Ten-student classrooms, each served by a pair of instructors, are partnered with one or more semi-private huddle rooms and common collaborative areas. Common areas on every floor allow for collaborative learning around traditional worktops or informal social seating. With learning spaces that could be mistaken for those of a contemporary college, the design intentionally implies an environment worthy of any rigorous college prep. Original fireplaces, from the building's first use as a Union League-funded Boys Club, are at the core of the building.