Chicago’s first Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD).
Situated 300 feet from the Blue Line train entrance and Polonia triangle, 1611 West Division – Chicago’s First Transit Oriented Development (TOD) – is dedicated to reducing traffic congestion and air pollution in its outreach to mass transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians. The 125,000sf, 11-story building includes 99 mixed-income apartments, second-floor offices, ground-floor retail and zero parking for building residents.
Because of the frenetic nature of the intersection, the design is organized around “movement” and reveals different aspects from varying viewpoints. From a distance, the sleek, multi-faceted building creates a stunning, two-dimensional graphic navigating landmark. As pedestrians approach, the building’s folded façade, comprised of staggered, non-repeating panels of metal and glass, captures light and reflects the energy that characterizes the community. The mingling of metal and glass on the façade makes each apartment unique while also serving an important sustainable function. Careful placement of wall materials and windows maximize insulation within bedroom spaces and increase natural light in living areas. Residents thus receive optimal city views, while reducing energy consumption.
The project included the development of a significant public art installation, a 92′ by 27′ digital print on the west-facing wall of the building, highlighting the development’s commitment to the arts and the neighborhood. The first installation, Antonia Contro’s “Scorza,” (meaning “skin” in Italian), becomes a new skin on the building and uses its exposure as the building does, to reveal increasing texture and depth to viewers upon approach. The organic material represented in the artwork forms an interesting notable contrast with the technical aesthetic–the metal and glass exterior–of the building. The installation aims to initiate a dialogue between the building, the art and its community, and further the development of a vibrant cultural corridor along Division and Milwaukee.