Chicago, IL
Community / Education
New Construction


2015 AIA Distinguished Building Citation of Merit


In the summer of 2013, By The Hand Club For Kids opened their first brand-new 26,000 square foot facility in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. Designed by Present Future Architects, the new facility hosts (8) spacious classrooms, a reading room, sun-filled multi-purpose social space for high school students, a bright gymnasium that doubles as a cafeteria, an auditorium and office area. The after-school center was largely constructed of prefabricated systems that decreased costs and improved project delivery. This savings provided opportunity to incorporate larger than life images of BTH kids into the exterior skin and interior space. At dusk the interior imagery is seen through the large storefront glass and creates continuity with the exterior and connection to the community. Through many vantage points, including visibility from the CTA and Metra rail lines, the imagery and the 50% green roof present a new optimism. Fulfilling the needs in Austin for a safe, nurturing environment for the neighborhood youth, the site serves 264 students annually and is open seven days a week to meet the needs of the community.