West Ridge Elementary School


Chicago, Illinois


Public Building Commission of Chicago / CPS


Muller + Muller, Ltd.


  • Central cafeteria & commons space
  • General classroom
  • Library
  • Special education classrooms
  • Gym - basketball court - Stage
  • Music band / choir rooms
  • Dining /Lunch facilities
  • Vehicle parking area
  • Drop-off / pick-up, and bus area


West Ridge Elementary School is a 105,000 SF, three-story, steel frame and masonry construction CPS prototype design to serve 900 students from K-8th grade. In addition to general class rooms, the building is comprised of administrative offices, multi-use rooms, dining, library, gymnasium, and a state of the art stage & rigging for assemblies, plays and after school activities. There are also specialty classrooms that focus on early education, science, art, music, choir and special education.

Most notably is that West Ridge is one of the first schools of its kind to include many building features and designs that the staff uses in the school year curriculum. This multi-use concept of designing the building materials for future use as a teaching guide is a complex and brilliant concept of the firm Muller + Muller Architects.

A few examples include:
There are exterior water storage tanks that collect rainwater from the roof gutters for use in irrigating the natural prairie landscaping and student vegetable garden spaces. Through these designs Students learn about local plants, water conservation and organic gardening. The giant glass walls of the dining room even give view to the student garden so they can check on the progress of their plantings during lunch breaks or watch the prairie flowers bloom.

The 3rd floor offers a spacious and naturally lit Library space with day-lighting controls, custom built-in seating and quiet reading spaces. From the west wall of the library students can view or walk through the custom green roof with pavers that replicate our solar system. This unique teaching garden is used by staff to educate students on energy conservation, horticulture and astrology.

Staff also uses the terrazzo floors in their lesson plans. The first floor demonstrates the power and infinity of the number “Pi”, on the second floor you can learn about our Nations Presidents and the third floor is a scalable illustration of our planets that includes a plaque of Pluto’s location in the parking lot. This 2011 award winning terrazzo floor design from Muller + Muller Architects is both complicated and extraordinary.