Located on a landmark city block in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, the project entails the renovation and de-conversion of a brick masonry residence and basement apartment into a single-family residence for a young urban family. The primary objective of the project was to draw natural light into the confines of a lot-line to lot-line building, on a dense city block with a mix of high and low-rise buildings.
Before the renovation, the long and narrow structure—mostly adjoined to its neighbors on both sides—was notable for limited windows, a traditional layout with many separate dark and small rooms. Access to the only exterior living space was indirect and difficult.
A one-and-a-half story glass “conservatory” intervention in the rear serves as a vertical connector between the existing split-level house and garage/roofdeck. The link provides direct access between indoor and new outdoor spaces, and acts as the primary source for southern exposure daylight, a luxury in the city. Nearly all of the existing interior walls were removed, opening up the spaces and allowing daylight to flood the interior from front to back.
The site constraints also limited exterior spaces, which had felt exposed to the high rises behind the house. A new trellis spans the entire width of the primary exterior patio to help define an exterior room and provide privacy and screening from neighboring buildings.
Interiors: Wheeler Kearns Architects (Sharlene Young, founder of Symbiotic Living)
General Contractor: Bulley & Andrews
Structural Engineer: Enspect Engineering
Photography: Steve Hall / Hedrich Blessing