Creating a New Hub of Learning and Career Opportunities for Health Sciences Education
At its core, the Malcolm X College in Chicago is a remarkable pipeline for healthcare employment. Located in the near west side neighborhood of Chicago and near the Illinois Medical District, the School of Health Sciences is a strategic response to the rapid evolution of healthcare in America. Recognizing a gap between the current market of qualified healthcare professionals and the projected 84,000 healthcare jobs set to come online in the Chicago region over the next decade, City Colleges of Chicago sought a dynamic learning environment that could help their students from across the city seize these opportunities. This new facility achieves this goal and solidifies Malcolm X as a hub for diverse health science degrees.
City Colleges of Chicago, CannonDesign and Malcolm X College collaborated on extensive research, community engagement and ethnographic design practices to help make the new campus as valuable as possible to the students, community and city. CannonDesign specifically pulled expertise from its health, education, science, corporate and urban design teams to inform the project.
CannonDesign leaders spent days embedded as students at the college to best understand the current student experience, and to help them design to enrich it for the future. This effort went hand-in-hand with four workshops with faculty, administration and students to set a vision and design drivers for the project. The design team also led interactive presentations with multiple scenarios that played out the design drivers.
All of these efforts inform the resulting building that will now educate Chicago-area students for generations. The architecture honors the legacy of Malcolm X with distinct features like the prominent placement of his former car in the atrium, a piece donated to the school by his widow, Betty Shabazz. The building design leverages towers, bars and masses to distinguish different spaces and promote idea-sharing amongst students, faculty and administration focused on health-science discovery. The campus also helps capitalize on resurgent development in the near west side neighborhood of Chicago by the United Center and further activates its neighborhood to capitalize on and contribute to this development.
The 544,000 sf facility can accommodate up to 20,000 students and houses leading-edge technologies and services. These learning spaces are arranged around a student-activity hub formed by a union, library and outdoor roof garden:
- a virtual hospital complete with operating and emergency rooms
- nursing, radiography, respiratory care and science labs
- an ambulance for EMT simulations
- a dental hygiene clinic to service the community and for student training
- an exercise and sports sciences area with a 900-seat gymnasium and therapy pool among other learning spaces and amenities.