Center for Social Justice

A community hub for research, learning, and practice.

The Center for Social Justice is a community-focused project that acts as a physical representation of The Salvation Army’s renewed commitment to the least, the lost, and the last. The four-story structure is an urban infill, and its program includes exhibition, meeting, event, and program space on the ground floor, administrative support spaces and student dormitories on the second floor, and market-rate apartments on the third and fourth floors. Its parti acknowledges that the heart of the project lies beyond the skin; what is inside creates a transformative project with a defined sense of place. A void in the building’s shape creates a courtyard bringing light and air to all spaces. This light-filled courtyard becomes a public space and a means of expression, a physical embodiment of the people it seeks to serve.


The building’s façade explores scale, texture, and materiality. It features a public portal engaging the community and inviting visitors into the entry and courtyard. Adjacent to the portal, a two-story exhibit volume announces the building’s presence in the neighborhood. The exhibit volume’s fritted glass casts a veiled character during the day and a soft, beacon-like character at night. The remainder of the façade is a mosaic of varying brick and coursing patterns that scale down the structure and bind it to the fabric of its context. Flush and recessed glazed openings are distributed to support the interior layout, and an outdoor terrace adds texture and plasticity to the façade. A metal grid and boundary frame unify the composition, providing an overall sense of unity and cohesion.

CLIENT

The Salvation Army

LOCATION

Chicago, IL

SIZE

24, 750 SF

SERVICES

  • Architecture