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No.9 and CAF Educational Exchange Collaboration:
Chicago’s Urban Sculptor Design Jam

Nature Center on Northerly Island

Enhancing Environmental Education and Recreation

Elizabeth Lenell Davies and Barbara Lilker

The col­lab­or­a­tion between the Chica­go Ar­chi­tec­ture Found­a­tion and No.9: Con­tem­por­ary Art & the En­vir­on­ment has grown through both or­gan­iz­a­tions’ com­mit­ment to edu­cat­ing today’s youth about sus­tain­able ar­chi­tec­ture and urb­an plan­ning. Over the past two years, No.9 has brought Ima­gin­ing My Sus­tain­able City, a four-day work­shop that teaches sus­tain­able ar­chi­tec­ture and plan­ning to grade sev­en stu­dents, to 28 schools in Toronto.

De­veloped by No.9’s ar­chi­tec­tur­al edu­cat­ors in col­lab­or­a­tion with the Toronto Dis­trict School Board, Ima­gin­ing My Sus­tain­able City in­teg­rates ar­chi­tec­tur­al edu­ca­tion with the ex­ist­ing grade sev­en cur­riculum. It brings pro­fes­sion­al ar­chi­tects in­to the classroom to edu­cate the stu­dents about real-world scen­ari­os and ap­pro­pri­ate, sus­tain­able solu­tions. The course brings the stu­dents’ neigh­bour­hoods to life as stu­dents re­design and re-ima­gine their sur­round­ings to be­come more so­cially and en­vir­on­ment­ally sus­tain­able.

Build­ing on Ima­gin­ing My Sus­tain­able City’s ex­ist­ing cur­riculum, the part­ner­ship with the Chica­go Ar­chi­tec­ture Found­a­tion com­bines No.9’s ar­chi­tec­tur­al pro­gram­ming with an or­gan­iz­a­tion that has es­tab­lished it­self as a lead­er in ar­chi­tec­tur­al edu­ca­tion. No.9 brought their Ima­gin­ing My Sus­tain­able City edu­cat­ors, Eliza­beth Le­nell Dav­ies and Bar­bara Lilk­er, to Chica­go to teach the four-day course to the city’s youth for the Urb­an Sculptor Design Jam at the Chica­go Ar­chi­tec­ture Found­a­tion. This col­lab­or­a­tion is the be­gin­ning for a Sis­ter Cit­ies Edu­ca­tion Ex­change ini­ti­at­ive that will link Toronto to Chica­go through its shared in­vest­ment in ar­chi­tec­ture and ar­chi­tec­tur­al edu­ca­tion.

Over the course of four days, CAF’s stu­dents de­signed a nature cen­ter con­sist­ing of a series of pa­vil­ions us­ing Stu­dio Gang’s land­scape pro­pos­al for the south­ern por­tion of Noth­erly Is­land as their site. Each stu­dent’s design con­trib­utes to the newly re­stored eco­sys­tems by en­han­cing hab­it­ats for spe­cif­ic in­di­gen­ous wild­life and cre­at­ing op­por­tun­it­ies for people to ex­per­i­ence nature in the city.

Pa­vil­ion pro­grams were chosen based on learn­ing, re­search and re­cre­ation­al op­por­tun­it­ies in the five newly cre­ated eco­lo­gic­al zones.

  • Fish research station and educational bridge
  • Scuba diving pavilion
  • Canoe and kayak rental
  • Environmental art centre

  • Camping
  • Observation area
  • Migratory bird research centre & star observatory
  • Washroom

  • Mudpuppy research station & information centre
  • Poetry & wetland bird pavilion

  • Bike rental & information centre
  • Washroom

    No.9: Contemporary Art & the Environment:
    No.9 is an arts organization that uses art and design to bring awareness to environmental concerns. We deliver programs in schools and in the public domain designed to encourage the use of creative thinking to resolve environmental issues and to promote a sustainable lifestyle.

    Chicago Architecture Foundation:
    The Chicago Architecture Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring people to discover why design matters. The Chicago Architecture Foundation presents a comprehensive program of tours, exhibitions, lectures, special events and youth education activities, all designed to enhance the public’s awareness and appreciation of Chicago’s outstanding architectural legacy.