SOS Children's Villages Lavezzorio Community Center

Design Evolves According to Availability


Chicago / USA


Studio Gang Architects


SOS Children's Villages Illinois


Completed 2008

Thinking of change as a liberating architectural opportunity rather than a limitation led to the original design of the SOS Lavezzorio Community Center. As the central hub of SOS Children’s Village Chicago, an organization in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood that serves foster care families, the building combines services for foster care and neighborhood families under one roof.

With its limited budget, contributions and in-kind donations were necessary to complete the Center. The building’s main “strata-wall” (made of varying mixes of concrete cast into wavy horizontal layers) preserves and reveals the complex donation system that shaped the project. It also demonstrates the material properties of concrete by exposing its liquid nature.

Inside the building, multi-faceted, naturally lit public spaces encourage a range of learning opportunities and social interaction. An extra-wide bleacher stair in the lobby doubles as classroom seating and an impromptu stage for performance, while a large community room on the second floor serves as classroom, exercise room, and meeting space.


2009 First Place, Architectural Excellence in Community Design Award, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
2008 High Commendation, Civic Category, World Architecture Festival
2008 Citation of Merit, Distinguished Building, AIA Chicago
2008 Citation of Merit, Divine Detail, AIA Chicago
2008 Best Building Award, Building Congress of Chicago

Selected Publications

2010 The Power of Pro Bono: 40 Stories about Design for the Public Good by Architects and Their Clients (Metropolis Books)

2009 July, Architectural Review
“Lavezzorio Community Center”

2009 Mar 14, Chicago Sun-Times
“Fostering a Village”

2009 Feb 11, Chicago Tribune
"Studio Gang's SOS Children's Villages Center wins top Driehaus community design award"

2008 Dec 14, Chicago Tribune
“Best Architecture of 2008”

2008 Oct 29, ApartmentTherapy.com
“Building on a Budget: Community Center by Studio Gang”

2008 Oct 24, Chicago Tribune
"This year's Chicago architecture awards--and the winners are..."

2008 Oct 10, Architectural Record
"Building Types Study: Government Buildings: SOS Children’s Village Lavezzorio Community Center"

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