Downers Grove South High School, built as one of a handful of prototype high schools in the region, existed as a sprawling campus with several buildings wings terminating into one another. The resulting image was one that many students described as “factory-like” and “blocky”. Due to its sprawl, core common spaces, such as the library, dining, and performance, existed at opposite ends of the building from one another, limiting the synergy between them and putting a heavy burden on hallway traffic.
The use of sweeping, curved additions helped soften the stocky build of the school and made connections to functions that were previously disengaged from one another. A new student commons, built in the existing courtyard at the heart of the school, serves as a hub that connects students to programs and resources. Ultimately, with carefully planned additions around the perimeter, a new building image was created for the community.