Benito Juarez High School

HACIA Green Corner

Submitted By:
Architrave Ltd.

Project Name: Benito Juarez High School, Performing Arts Addition and Classroom Link

 Chicago, Illinois

ASCE Illinois Section – Sustainability in Civil Engineering Award

Project Client:
Chicago Public Schools

Project Background:

The new Juarez Performing Arts Addition includes a two-story volume  with a 500-seat auditorium, arts classrooms, a bridge link with general classrooms, an academic plaza, athletic fields and a civic plaza memorializing Hispanic heritage.  Constructed on reclaimed industrial land, the new addition completes the expanded campus.


Challenges included creating a true urban school campus and mitigating the impact of adjacent industrial areas.  Strategic placement of the addition along the site’s southern edge defines the campus and forms an effective buffer to busy ­­ Cermak Road. The two-story volume’s masonry cladding compliments the existing academic building and strengthens the sense of campus. Alternately, the bridge link is clad in glass and metal, reinforcing its role as a bridge between the two masonry buildings.  Its transparency supports daytime art activities and becomes a glowing neighborhood marker, during evening hours.  


Along with expanded athletic fields, incorporation of a green roof and lush bioswale create a virtual green oasis, significantly improving its surroundings.  A notable green element is the system of rainwater diversion which was conceived and executed in collaboration with CDOT.   Rainwater is collected from the east plaza through permeable pavers and from the roof of the new bridge link building through downspouts;  and then directed through a system of runnels and stainless steel troughs to a, mosaic-lined, water feature that provides visual interest, both during rain events and dry periods. Ultimately rainwater sustains the bioswale and percolates into the ground.