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Concept illustration: James Silvestro

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Installation in progress at Overton School. Photo: James Silvestro

Open Air Moment

Open Air Moment is a whimsical play structure that sits within the primary corridor of Overton Elementary. Positioned at a breezeway with physical and visual access from the street to the inner courtyard, this intervention invites you to sit, feel the breeze, and reflect on your own educational experience.


Inspired by the Open Air School Movement of the early 20th century, the transparent design of Overton reflects the idea that an education should be tied to nature, natural light, and a healthy dose of physical play. This structure builds on this theory and attempts to address the lack of freedom through play in a typical day at a Chicago Public Elementary School. The open air moment creates a liminal space along the gridded corridor by incorporating an inverted prairie that challenges perspective and enhances the prevailing environmental influences of the site. A swing is provided for you to pause, reflect, and play along.


People are invited to take a moment to read and possibly respond to one of the suspended prompts above their head. 


Project Team:

James Silvestro (Silvestro Design Operations)

Ke’Shon Newman

Sarah Walter

Mike Beavers

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Project inspiration: 

Open Air School

Amsterdam, Netherlands. 1927

Architect: Jan Duiker

Source: Hidden Architecture website

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