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Lakeview Penthouse

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A contemporary reinterpretation of traditional geometry.

For clients who purchased an untouched two-story penthouse within a mansard-shaped roofline of a Chicago high-rise, their desire was to create a sophisticated, inviting home while softening the intense geometry of its sloped outer walls.

The apartment’s stunning 270-degree views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline are maximized around a J-shaped floorplan with public living spaces on the lower-level and private spaces above. Gently curved, vaulted walls wrap the outer perimeter, acknowledging the ornamental building but re-interpreting it in a contemporary way. Gray lacquer panels define a central service core that encloses the kitchen, bathrooms, and other storage rooms.

A series of intimate spaces and features embrace the young family’s passions, needs, and lifestyle; open living/dining, window nooks for sitting and reading, surfaces to display art, a media room, and a combined office/guitar room.

Layers of materials—lacquered panels, walnut, and oxidized black metal—create a rich and varied palette, while polished-white venetian plaster threads throughout and unifies the duplex apartment home. The reflective qualities of the polished surface indirectly illuminate the spaces and provide an ever-changing relationship between occupants and surroundings. A strategic lighting strategy helps manage glare from the windows during the day, and at night, radiates the curved walls with soft, warm light.

Connecting the two floors is a sculptural stair fabricated from oxidized steel and glass, up-lit from an illuminated glass platform. Bespoke furniture, fixtures, and art create a dialogue with the reflective perimeter wall to complete this serene, spacious perch.

Interiors: Sharlene Young – Symbiotic Living
General Contractor:
Norcon, Inc.
MEP/FP: McGuire Engineers
Structural Engineer: Enspect Engineering
Lighting Consultant: Lux Populi
Photography: Steve Hall – Hall + Merrick Photographers