The Latin School of Chicago

The Interactive Science Forum:  The New Wave for Education
Fusing together the creative processes of science and art, the 2200 square foot Interactive Science Forum provides students hands-on access to scientific concepts and new technologies, and perspectives into the beauty and complexity of our natural world.

Learning spills out from laboratories into the Forum’s public space, filled with student-centered art, science, and technology project-based exhibits.

Every element and surface of the Forum promotes learning and affords students opportunities to take control of information through technology and art-based platforms. An iconic Omni-Globe projection surface demonstrates real-time interactive media, flat screen monitors display local and global news or student work, and reconfigurable, flexible seating doubles as cabinets of curiosity filled with artfully arranged specimens and skulls. The ceiling hosts a model of fusion formed from eccentric conduit and fixtures, the flooring boasts the Golden Mean and a one-meter grid encouraging experimentation with measurement and laws of motion and inertia, and niches between classrooms host discipline-specific elements from a saltwater aquarium to a kinetic ball machine. A science lounge is a bridge for students seeking extra faculty help or a quiet space for small groups to brainstorm.

A series of graphic murals act as viewports bringing concepts of quantity, scale, space, and perspective within student grasp. Serving as both a stunning visual feature and a thought-provoking teaching tool, the murals are the result of the creative collaboration of science faculty, architects, and photographer Doug Fogelson. Inspired by the Eames’ film, Powers of Ten, the artist exposed everyday objects and materials to colored light, providing equivalent imagery in multiple exposures and at varying magnitudes in each power of ten.

The Forum is a catalyst for informal encounters, experimentation and creativity alchemy. Two additional wave artworks of artscience surround students ascending the curved stair. Reuben Margolin’s Nimbus Wave was commissioned as a kinetic, site-specific artwork to activate the stairwell and generate excitement. Reminiscent of the movement of water, the sculpture ripples and fluctuates from its center adding drama and engineering prowess. Complementing Margolin’s artwork, Fogelson’s second mural entitled Ventura lines the stairwell and immerses students and staff in the visual and emotional impact of a multiple exposure photograph of ocean waves as a force of nature. Descending the Science Forum, students submerge into the waves, moving down and around to their next class. Representing the next wave for science education, the Interactive Forum immerses students of The Latin School in an opportunity and technology rich center, synthesizing analytical and aesthetic investigation and learning.

I am going to learn so much this year just through osmosis.
~ Latin High School Student

This place makes me want to learn.
~ Latin High School Student

Latin School is truly an innovative, 21st century educational space.
~ Carolyn Armenta Davis Hon AIA

Awards:
RED (Recognizing Exemplary Design) Award, International Interior Design Association Illinois Chapter, 2012.
Award given to recognize exemplary design and superior projects in education.
Outstanding Design Award & Grand Award, American School & University – Learning By Design, 2012.
Award given to recognize a sophisticated approach in design.

From the flooring finishes to the wall finishes, the school maximizes the space so learning can take place anytime, anywhere.
~ Jury Comments.

Working with Architecture Is Fun on the science forum is a highlight of art commission history to date. Together in collaboration we flowed through various ideations, refinements and presentations to illustrate our concept within the space. With client approval and enthusiasm, we installed two large-scale photographic murals. 
~ Artist Doug Fogelson.

Owner:  Latin School of Chicago
Interior Architecture & Public Space Design:  Architecture Is Fun, Inc.
Art Selection, Supervision & Procurement:  Fun Finders
Architect of Record:  Nagle Hartray Architecture
“Involution” (Powers of 10 Mural):  Doug Fogelson
Location:  Chicago/Illinois
Status:  Completed 2012
Photography:  © Doug Snower Photography  &  © Doug Fogelson Photography