These photographs of two public high schools address the way in which our society’s values are reflected in the spaces we create, and in the marks and changes created by use. Schurz Public High School, on Chicago’s north side, was designed at a time when public education was seen as a noble endeavor and a source of strength for the nation. Over the years, use and changing priorities left their record on this National Historic Landmark. Marathon High School, in rural Wisconsin, is a very different physical structure. Resembling a laboratory, and completed in the early 1960s, the physical space seemed immune to change. These photographs point to the values that led us to create these spaces, while raising questions about how our ideals of education and social relationships have changed.
“The complexities of these places with their layers of historical and social significance resist easy interpretation.”