Lifestyle and Effects
Situated on an eighteen-foot wide lot in Chicago’s Grand Crossing, a neighborhood notable for its rapid genesis from an open field into a dense, beautiful upper-middle-class neighborhood, this attached, narrow, masonry row house mirrored its apogee and decline. Luxurious and new at the time of the nearby Columbian Exposition, the building was four decades later chopped up into apartments during the Great Depression. A contractor recently restored its single occupancy but cut the rear of the building off from light and air. In his defense, the rear yard was not much to look at: a gravel and dirt pad. We set out to create an inside/outside space employing effects with light, color and material that would create a volume for family, community and mindfulness.
Here's the working model with the original idea for the table
View from Dining Room - Before
The approach from Dining Room - After
Window with Sad Paper Curtains
This was the original window inside the enclosed back porch looking out to the yard, a.k.a. the dirt pad, if you can believe it.
The view out to the garden
Sustainable Architecture looks different because it performs differently. This shot speaks volumes of the inside/outside effect in this home and entertainment space. While only 6 inches over 10 feet wide, the space is roomy yet fits like a glove. The light shelf bounces natural light deep into the space. A hopper window above the shelf assists with natural ventilation. The flooring and stone bench draw your eye from inside to outside creating a seamless space to watch the seasons unfold. We call it right sizing.
We saved tens of thousands of dollars by specifying formaldehyde-free cabinet boxes from an online manufacturer and having the cabinet faces manufactured locally.
The window helps provide another 12" of counter space.
Fixed and Operable Light
The horizontal window opening extends the countertop in the 12" masonry wall and the vertical window is operable.
The bench passes effortlessly from inside to outside.
The South Side is Ms. Havisham
The ramshackle, one-story frame white enclosed porch on the right was ripped down and our addition replaced it, opening up the rear of the row house to the light and air. Note how the neighboring trees and garage are gone. If Chicago is personified by Algren as a woman with a broken nose, then the ruin that is much of the South Side is Ms. Havisham. Please keep in mind that her wedding with its grand festivities and lavish cake was scheduled for 1893.
Light-gauge metal framing going up. The light shelf was welded in place and braces the fame. It also bounces light deep into the room and allows for a clerestory window to be open while the terrace door is shut. "What's a terrace door?" you may ask. Shoot us an email and we are happy to explain the role and importance of a terrace door in Sustainability.
Exterior from North at Dusk
Existing and New Plans
From left to right is displayed the existing and new construction plans for each of the floors. Note the 18 foot wide lot dimension that attests to the popularity and allure of Washington Park to the south and Drexel Boulevard to the east in 1884. Horseback riding was popular and Washington Park even had its own racetrack.
Seeking a beauty that belongs in modern life and one that endorses it.
We strongly believe in two things: Sustainable Architecture looks different because it performs differently and modern living is about how people actually live. Architecture can be a mirror and a catalyst for both.
This inside/outside space pierces a blank wall a few blocks from Barack Obama's home. Thermal mass for night cooling and heating, light shelf for natural daylighting and operable windows for natural ventilation.