Together, Chicago Children's Advocacy Center (ChicagoCAC) and its partners are the city’s front-line responders to reports of child sexual and physical abuse. ChicagoCAC is the city’s only not-for-profit organization that coordinates the efforts of child protection staff, law enforcement professionals, family advocates, medical experts and mental health clinicians under one roof. Holabird & Root’s design portrays the concept of the Chicago row house, reducing the mass of the two-story addition, creating a dynamic elevation, and respecting the existing architecture. The two-story addition is approximately 18,900 square feet, almost doubling the size of the existing facility. Organizationally, the first floor of the addition is dedicated to professional spaces and offices, while the second floor houses the mental health department, training area and lunchroom. Child and family-friendly spaces remain at the heart of the existing building.
The first floor of the facility is designed in a “loop,” with professional offices wrapping around child and family-centered spaces that comprise much of the interior office space. With the new addition accommodating some of the old functions, the locations and spaces of the onsite partner agencies have been modified and expanded within the existing building. For instance, several rooms have been designated for new conference areas, and the number of family rooms has been increased. To connect the north to south circulation thoroughfare of the new addition, connection points are designed into the existing building at three locations.
Throughout the facility, flexible offices and open suites offer work space with room to grow. The mental health area is viewed as a “stand-alone” clinic on the second floor of the new addition. The training center is also located on the second floor, allowing for a large flexible space. With the lunchroom directly adjacent and the ability to divide the room with a moveable partition, the training center becomes a collaborative set of spaces that can handle large groups and breakout sessions alike. The project is expected to recieve LEED Gold certification.