Design Build Grand Opening

Saturday, December 16, 2017 marked a day in the history of I-NOMA and the Erie Neighborhood House. What started out as a vision and charge to the chapters leadership, manifested this weekend as a completely renovated space that will impact lives for years to come.


Erie Neighborhood House is a cradle to grave community organization that delivers services to strengthen primarily Latino families in life skills, education, and social support. With a major donation from Equity Office and Blackstone, announced at the Willis Tower Renovation Announcement in February, I-NOMA was able to partner with the Erie House to upgrade one of their spaces in need of repair. A team of leadership met with Erie House early in the year to assess which space should be prioritized for renovation. Kicking off with a design sprint in the spring and selecting 15 bright, young minds from the Project Pipeline summer camp, the chapter executed a 16-week long educational design-build experience this fall. Each week, the students met at the Erie House to learn the steps of the design process and develop a design for the center's Youth Options Unlimited (Y.O.U.) suite. With direct mentorship from Chicago’s best designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, suppliers, and contractors, the students were able to design, coordinate, and help build the new suite.

A dedicated team of chapter leadership facilitated the program from start to finish, developing a curriculum, collecting labor, material, and product resources, and coordinating the design with the students to ensure their intent was expressed. Key players include Oswaldo Ortega, Darin Triplett, Brian K. Ellison, Imani Dixon, Brian Haynes, Jose Estrada, Malcolm Joseph, and Doug Williams to name a few. Not to mention the critical involvement of staff at the Erie House: Directors Joshua Fulcher and Maria Munoz.

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“This year’s Project Pipeline Design Build undertaking gave students and mentors the ability to collaborate on a real-life design project for Erie Neighborhood House, an organization with a consequential role in the community for decades.”


The job could not have have been accomplished without the time, effort, and resources of all major sponsors: Gensler, Berglund Construction, icue, Connealy Design Element, BKE Designs Inc., Amana Construction, and Block Electric. In the words of the I-NOMA Co-VP, Darin . Triplett, "It took a village," and now, the youth of the Erie House have a clean, safe, contemporary space to help them flourish throughout their secondary education in the new Y.O.U.!