Langston Hughes Elementary School is a new, single-story replacement school for 840 Pre-K through 8th grade students. Twenty percent of the student population has special needs requirements. SMNG A Ltd. designed this building based on the principles of Universal Design to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design.


The building surrounds a courtyard Discovery Garden designed to encourage interaction with adjacent special needs classrooms. Two-story volumes containing library, gym, administration, and music functions form the building’s four outside corners and provide sheltered entries for the students. The school is part of a larger campus that includes two outdoor play areas, a second garden planted with species native to the Illinois prairie, and an accessible wheelchair softball field. The building contains an “extensive” green roof, roof monitors that provide natural day-lighting to classrooms and an innovative radiant floor heating and cooling distribution system. Langston Hughes obtained LEED Gold Certification under the USGBC LEED for Schools Program.

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Public Building Commission of Chicago
50 W. Washington, Rm. 200
Chicago, IL 60602




101,000 SF

Completion Date 


Key Staff 

Kenneth Schroeder, Director
Todd Niemiec, Project Manager

Tim Burd, Assistant Project Manager
Molly Kinsella, Project Architect


2009 3rd Place Recipient
Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for
Architectural Excellence in Community Design
2010 Silver Design Award
Association of Licensed Architects (ALA)
2010 Merit Award
The Midwest Best of 2010
2011 Merit Award, Illinois Chapter
American Society of Landscape Architects