Belmont-Cragin Elementary School

Chicago, Illinois

STL Architects
Metropolitan Architectural Brick

Designed by SNMG-A Architects with STL Architects serving as Architect of Record, the three-story, 110,000 sq. ft. Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy was opened in September of 2009 to serve kindergarten through 8th grade students in Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. This project was sold by Bob Skogh with Metropolitan Architectural Brick.

Deeply cut window openings with angled piers on the west facade catch the afternoon light and create dramatic shadow play, emphasizing the solid mass of the wall and reinforcing its depth. Special shapes were used to create the angles, avoiding any mitered corners that would detract from the monolithic quality of the masonry wall.

Due to the building’s basic geometry, the architect chose to express its horizontality by using a 2¼" high x 155 ⁄8" long brick. Half bond coursing was used to enhance the horizontal direction and facilitate the reading of the building as a singular masonry mass. Alignment in the east-west orientation gave it a prominent position on the west side of the site, and while the Reddish Tan color of the Regency Blend is similar to the color of the other two schools in the park, it has a richer and warmer tone, glowing in the ample sunlight the 59-acre park setting provides.

On the east side, the brick lattice wall at the cooling tower well screens mechanical equipment while avoiding the need for a 60’ long expanse of louvers. It also accentuates the materiality and modularity of the brick with the play of light behind the wall. 16" Modulars and Utilities are made at our Sergeant Bluff plant in our Buff, Gray, Tan & Pink colors.


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