Reinventing education for the third millennium

North Shore Country Day School, Upper School Renovation and Expansion, Winnekta, IL

North Shore Country Day School is a preK-12 community rooted in a tradition that challenges each member to develop a passion for active, lifelong learning and respect for others. A year after finalizing the master plan, we began conceptual planning for an Upper School renovation. The process consisted of faculty, administration and students interviews, as well as design workshops to stimulate dialogue and arrive at unifying themes to drive the transformation.

The LEED Silver building – originally built in 1922 – now accommodates student body growth, and transforms the physical environment to provide “classrooms of the future” that more fully support and leverage the school’s unique pedagogical model of rigorous individualized and holistic learning. The Upper School was also reconfigured with flexible and modern room arrangements and classrooms that facilitate cross-curricular dialogues.

The collaborative planning process gave form to five unifying themes: creating agile and flexible community spaces; reinforcing outdoor connections; creating diverse and customizable teaching and learning styles; designing interdisciplinary and collaborative areas that merge science with the arts, innovation and technology; and establishing spaces that nurture relationships and interaction among teachers and learners. These themes informed a design that aligns the North Shore pedagogy with 21st century learning.

Faculty, staff and students participated in the process. The end result are classrooms of the future that better leverage the educational dynamic that currently distinguishes North Shore—highly interactive environments that facilitate personal connections, thoughtful analysis, discussion and debate.

Tom Doar III, Head of School

Together, we create design solutions to the greatest challenges facing our clients and society.