Public Building Commission Receives ALA Silver Medal Design Award

For Langston Hughes Elementary School Offering Universal Design Features

Mimi Simon, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

The Public Building Commission (PBC), an independent government agency that oversees the construction and renovation of municipal buildings and infrastructure on behalf of the people of Chicago and Cook County, received the Association of Licensed Architects (ALA) Silver Medal Design Award in recognition of superior achievement and professional design excellence for Langston Hughes Elementary School.

The new school facility is located at 240 W. 104th Street and opened for CPS students in fall 2009. Its universal design features accommodate both able bodied students as well as the severely and profoundly disabled children.

The school includes a Snoezelein Classroom for multi-sensory stimulation, a Discovery Classroom for interactive therapy and motor development, and a much loved Discovery Garden Courtyard that allows wheelchair-bound children to interact with elevated planting beds. Wayfinding cues and ample wheelchair and mobilization device storage are also located throughout the school.

“We’re pleased to be recognized, along with SMNG-A Architects, for this wonderful project.” said Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director of the PBC, “Because of the Universal Design, each child can be educated in an environment that can serve all students regardless of any physical or developmental limitations”

The award was presented to SMNG-A, the Design and Architect of Record at the ALA’s annual awards dinner on November 12, 2010.

The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. Mayor Richard M. Daley serves as the PBC’s chairman. Erin Lavin Cabonargi serves as the Executive Director of the PBC. Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at