IDG participated in the CHIDESIGN open international ideas design competition. We were to propose a facility that includes the new headquarters, visitor center and exhibition spaces of the Chicago Architecture Foundation; a new headquarters for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH); a design and allied arts high school; and flexible learning spaces for out-of-school-time youth programs.

The Center for Architecture, Design and Education (CADE) will be a new kind of learning campus that simultaneously serves as a welcoming center for 600,000 annual Chicago visitors; provides a learning environment that equips young people to be stewards for the built environment in the 21st Century (and beyond); and is a hub for community engagement.

Design Concept

A grid concept to develop repetition of basic geometries; the idea of a square grid, coincident with structure occurs. Analyzing the program, the basic hamburger comes to mind. A hamburger is made up of two buns and sandwich between the buns are its ingredients.

Our concept takes into account sandwiching the High School and Out-of–School Time Youth between the CAF Headquarters and Cultural Programs and CTBUH Headquarters and Professional Programs.

Learning Environment

Directly above either the High School or Out Time School is a shared space (i.e. Dining & Café, Gymnasium/Locker for students and adults, retail and gallery space with some administration. Theatre and Event space are located above and below the academic areas. All public activities are on street level with exhibits in the basement. The concept provides the flexibility to provide diverse types of spaces such as grouping of educational programs into “learning centers” to allow interdisciplinary teaching.


The concept provides value to all stakeholders. It’s unique by day/night and includes exciting spaces that will increase the value experience. It’s not just a functional, healthy building but an aesthetically pleasing and inviting building, a place that will leave a lasting impression.