On July 16, the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology hosted a community design charrette at the Homan Square Community Center. Approximately forty community leaders and guests were invited from the North Lawndale, Little Village, and Pilsen areas to participate in a workshop providing feedback on topics related to the future construction of CHICAT’s state-of-the-art facility.
The charrette opened with a group breakfast, offering participants opportunities to introduce themselves to one another and learn more about the day’s schedule. The event was organized with the help of Jessica Sarowitz of the Julian Grace Foundation, a major CHICAT funder. Breakfast was followed by floor plan explanations from Landon Bone Baker’s architects, and a community connection commentary by 24th Ward Alderman, Michael Scott. From there, teams assembled to brainstorm discussion topics and generate breakout presentations that aggregated the focus groups’ findings.
Although many subjects were discussed, the most substantial conversations involved how CHICAT could provide a welcoming environment, security, and community space for events and programming to the surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, participants expressed significant interest in the interior and exterior aesthetics of the building, unanimously agreeing the facade was a critical component of the facility‘s apparent accessibility. As participants explored opportunities and challenges related to each topic, unexpected strategies and approaches were recommended that optimized CHICAT’s space for enhancing the communities it will later serve.
Ideas, insights and action items were compiled into a short report for future analysis. The Chicago Center for Arts and Technology design charrette set the stage for more positive discussions moving forward, and established a proud and productive partnership with the people and communities it will serve.