Just a Hop, Skip and a Jump!
Children of faculty and students at the University of Chicago are invited to crawl, roll, ride, climb, jump, hop, skip—and walk too! The innovative, sustainable facility supports the health, safety and developmental growth of the young children who attend the Stony Island Child Development Center. Located adjacent to a multi-story apartment complex, an active railroad corridor and a busy road, the site was very constricted and urbanized. So the design for the 14,000 sf outdoor learning environment emphasizes connection with nature to counter the effects of the adjacent uses.
Natural features provide a variety of experiences and challenges, meeting the developmental needs of each age group. Special features include custom wood and mesh playhouses and wheeled toy storage sheds, tree cookie paving, a garden area with wood arbor and cistern, a hillside slide for 2-year olds and a boulder-climbing area for the preschoolers. Low-water-use plantings, landscape features reflect the building aesthetic and architecture. We provided landscape architecture design services from concept through construction. The project is LEED Gold certified.