Located on a narrow infill site in Chicago’s Bucktown district, this new home for a young and growing family meets head-on the primary challenges of living in
dense urban spaces—access to natural light and landscape while providing assurances of privacy.
The house is organized vertically around a piano nobile building section, with shared family spaces opening out onto a wide bridge that connects to a garage
roof deck which serves as the family’s primary outdoor living space. Below the bridge is a secure, partially weather protected courtyard play area for the
children. The lower level includes all service spaces, guest rooms and a children’s play room adjacent to the courtyard. The family bedrooms are all located
on the upper level. A landscaped roof deck atop the main house offers panoramic views back toward the downtown Chicago skyline.
The circulation zone stretches along the south side of the house setting the main living spaces back from the glazed facade. This zone thus serves as a foil
providing privacy for the main living spaces and allowing for shared access to natural light and views.
A ribbon of high clerestory windows brings south light to the main floor living spaces while shielding views from neighboring houses. The upper floor sets in
4-feet along the north wall providing for a continuous skylight bringing indirect light to the main level year-round. A large industrial scale south facing
monitor rises above the roof providing access and brings light deep into the house, screened by a perforated metal wall providing passive solar shading and
visual privacy from neighboring houses. This light well will function as a thermal chimney in warmer months drawing cool air through the landscaping at lower
levels up through the house reducing cooling demand. Terraced, landscaped light wells lower basement sill heights and transform these otherwise dark spaces
into livable rooms.
The open plan, exposed structural steel frame and concrete floors are utilitarian and evoke lofts spaces the couple had lived in previously. Materials are
low-maintenance will weather naturally—zinc alloy siding, aluminum windows, brick, Cedar and Ipe.