Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters

Chicago, Illinois (Belmont Cragin)

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design – Third Place (2018)

Winner of the American Society for Interior Designers – Illinois Chapter (ASID-IL) Design Excellence Award for Education (2017)

Honorable Mention, School Planning & Management Education Design Showcase (2017)

For this project, Eckenhoff Saunders partnered with the nonprofit, After School Matters to create a satellite location for their apprenticeship programs, which have been running for 25 years. Our team was tasked to transform an existing four-story building into a beacon for culinary, arts, and technology programs for the teens of the Belmont Cragin neighborhood. The predominantly interior renovation includes a commercial-grade teaching kitchen and dining area, dance studio, sound rooms and vocal booths, art gallery space, digital technology labs, and various studios for visual arts practice.

The exterior improvements include additional punched openings for added interior daylight, landscape updates, a covered entry canopy, and a new stair tower to bring the building up to modern building codes. Recognizing the After School Matters vision, Eckenhoff Saunders strived to create an interior space that became a blank canvas for the students to experiment and transform each surface into their artistic expression. Walls and surfaces of the interior are clad with materials that welcome transformation into something the students may proudly claim as their own.


Client: After School Matters

Photographer: Mariusz Mizera Photography

Owners Representative: Spaan Tech, Inc.

MEP Engineer: ECL Engineering Consultants

Structural Engineer: Kibler-AE

Civil Engineer: TERRA

Landscape Architect: Wolff Landscape Architecture

Food Service Design: Boelter

General Contractor: Reed Construction