MSE / O’Toole

A one-and-a-half acre playground and associated green space blurs the division between work and play. The landscape of multisensory outdoor rooms, designed with palettes of light, activity and color, is based on the Montessori teaching philosophy of mind, body and soul. An espalier fence screens the site’s programmed functions, which include outdoor classrooms, a hoop house and basketball court set within a vegetable garden, and an earth mound playscape festooned with native flowers. Unconstricted exploration and experimentation are facilitated by the native garden’s open and rolling topography. A north-south promenade bisects the site and accommodates more structured and formal activities such as market day assemblies, graduation celebrations and a place for showing movies.

LOCATION: Chicago, IL
CLIENT: Montessori School of Englewood
ARCHITECT: UrbanWorks, Ltd.
PROJECT INITIATION: 2013
COMPLETION OF WORK: 2014
SITE AREA: 1.56 acres (site)