Breathing new life into a predominantly working-class Latino neighborhood, CannonDesign and JGMA selected bold metal colors and shapes for the Daley College’s Manufacturing, Technology and Engineering Center (MTEC).
Metal panels, glass and exposed steel combine to create an industrial, high-tech aesthetic, drawing attention to the modern façade. Silver, yellow, orange and red panels appear as fins, blocks and geometric shapes throughout the 57,000 sq. ft. exterior and interior, creating a bright, attractive look. A bold yellow metal panel highlights the underside of the overpass, acting as a prominent entry point.
“The bright yellow of the overpass represents the use of caution colors in manufacturing and draws the community’s eyes to the facility even more dramatically,” wrote Metal Architecture Editor Paul Deffenbaugh. “The hope is that while young people drive past the school and see the dramatic reveal of the manufacturing equipment, their interest will be piqued.”
Large expanses of glass draw the eye to the colorful machines and equipment inside the advanced facility. As expressed by the architects, “the seamless fluidity to the building’s form was inspired by the constant and linear flow of the manufacturing process.”
The natural flow of the building brings students and visitors through a series of exterior and interior learning spaces, and acts as a new front door for METEC and campus itself.
Located near Midway Airport, the new building raises the former one-building college into a more prominent role within the community it serves. The technical education offerings are aimed at generating high-end manufacturing jobs for Chicago residents to boost the local economy and promote development in the West Lawn community.
“The CENTRIA Formawall paneling especially gives the building a contemporary feel, and the varied angles and shapes and three-dimensionality showcase a design philosophy that is forward looking, and not representative of a historically grimy manufacturing sector,” said Deffenbaugh.
Recipient of an MCA Chairman’s Award in the (college and university category, the architectural design incorporates a number of seating areas, platforms and alcoves, to support socialization and incidental learning outside of class.
MCA judge Steven G. Blye of Legat Associates comments, “this is an outstanding project. The triangular motif is expressive, and they really showcase the use of metal, which plays up the school’s curriculum.”
In all, 28,000 sq. ft. of architectural metal panels were specified for the project.