El Centro | The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago with Geoffrey Baer
All of our communities deserve uplifting architecture – not just a downtown or a central business district. You can create such incredible impact.– Juan Gabriel Moreno, architect
Geoffrey Baer talks with architect Juan Gabriel Moreno at El Centro.
While much of Chicago’s architectural beauties are concentrated downtown, architect Juan Gabriel Moreno told Geoffrey Baer that working with an architect to create a beautiful building shouldn’t be an exclusive thing. Completed in 2014, El Centro is part of Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) and is located in the Avondale neighborhood near the Kennedy Expressway. The program housed in this building dates back to the 1970s with the goal of providing support to Latino and immigrant students. With the building’s proximity to the expressway, the design cleverly finds a way to avoid all that traffic noise. The building slants inward at the base, so the structure deflects the sound into the earth. The vertical “fins” also help to dampen sound and provide shade for the classrooms. The fins are the school colors but look different depending on how someone approaches the building; people driving north on the Kennedy will see blue fins, while people driving south will see yellow fins.