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Steel and mining company ArcelorMittal is among the early lead donors who are truly paving the way to make the Chicago Architecture Center a reality.

The company’s $1 million gift will support the construction of the new ArcelorMittal Design Studio at the Center and the expanded programs that it will house.

Located on the upper level of the Center, the ArcelorMittal Design Studio will be a cutting-edge workspace for students and emerging architects. CAF will grow its hands-on programs in the 700-square-foot studio, serving thousands of youth and families throughout the year. Flagship programs such as Teen Academy, E-Fest and the radically popular Girls Build! would not be possible without this versatile space.

CAF Board Member Marcy Twete, executive director of the ArcelorMittal USA Foundation, recently shared ArcelorMittal’s excitement about the new design studio.

Why is CAF important to ArcelorMittal?

When ArcelorMittal formed in 2006, the Chicago Architecture Foundation naturally became one of our first premier nonprofit partners in Chicago. Our relationship with CAF matters to us because we recognize, like they do, that design matters. Designers, architects, artists – they bring our steel to life in buildings all around this city. CAF opens the door for visitors and locals to better understand the built environment and the importance of design in this city. Further, CAF opens the door for the next generation of architecture and design enthusiasts, and perhaps even a few steelmakers.

What excites you most about the new design studio in the CAC?

CAF first approached us about building the ArcelorMittal Design Studio in its current location in 2013. Together, we conceived a state-of-the-art, collaborative learning space where architecture, design and engineering could meet. Kids have the opportunity there to build, to create and to think about what their creations could become on a grand scale in the future. With the move to the new CAC, we simply couldn’t see a Design Studio without ArcelorMittal’s participation. CAF’s incredible programming will continue, but because of the location of the new CAC, thousands more families and kids will enter the Design Studio every year.

Why do you want to continue supporting CAF’s student and teen programs?

Though our relationship with CAF began with our shared interest in Chicago’s built environment, it has grown largely in relation to our shared interest in STEM education. We are committed to developing the next generation of scientists and engineers who will make our world more technologically advanced and sustainable in the future. CAF’s education programming allows kids to “think big” and envision all they could do as an engineer, a designer, an architect, or as a citizen. All of these experience contribute to more young people choosing paths in STEM, which in turn makes our business more sustainable and our communities more resilient. The CAC and the new ArcelorMittal Design Studio will be a major part of that success.