Diversity in housing options is vital to sustainable communities. As rental prices in downtown Chicago continue to escalate the need for affordable workforce housing options also increases. Lake Street Studios is more than a building. It is in its entirety of program, design and financial structure, a strategy to serve low and middle income households. The design of Lake Street Studios, both, problem solves at a high level and responds to the vibrant urban context that is a rapidly developing area of the city, just within the downtown core.
The design challenge for the narrow 30’ lot was solved via a single loaded corridor plan that democratically provides all residents (61 studios/micro units) with an unobstructed view of Chicago Skyline.
Visually the design takes a contextual and colorful cue from the various movement patterns and the existing buildings around the site. The mass transit, pedestrian, Chicago River and automotive traffic patterns, provide the inspiration for the bold and bright geometric integration of blue, white, and copper articulation of the façade. Resulting in a burst of color along the I-90/94 “expressway wall,” which defines the western edge of the Chicago Loop.
Targeting the service workers in the nearby Fulton Market and Greek Town restaurant districts, Lake Street Studios provides an affordable, live-near-work option for the workforce that supports the very services that make the area thrive. On a tight budget, Lake Street Studios demonstrates that good design is for all and that today’s city dwellers can live large, by living small.