Project Completion Year
Project Location: City
Project Location: State
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United States of America
Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood has experienced a dramatic revitalization over the last two decades, transforming from an industrial concentration of factories and warehouses to a sought-after location for renowned restaurants, high-end galleries and luxury apartments. With this growth came new employment opportunities across sectors, skillsets and income levels—and prohibitively expensive housing that excluded the neighborhood’s low-income workforce.
Lake Street Studios provides sixty-one affordable, transit-oriented micro-units, ensuring that the men and women who drive Chicago’s service industries not only have safe, affordable and quality housing, but also critical access to opportunities, social services and the jobs they depend on to survive.
The prominent though challenging 30’ x 150’ configuration of the 4,500-square-foot parcel made it difficult to exploit the full development potential of the site. The design solution was a cantilevered concrete frame that extended the building structure to each lot line without disturbing adjacent structures and public right of ways. Within the frame, the residential floors were planned in a single-loaded configuration that took advantage of unobstructed views of the Chicago skyline and minimized the exposure of the residential units to the noise of the adjacent CTA L Tracks.
Purposeful, seamless design ensures the structure blends skillfully with the surrounding neighborhood. Balancing movement and stillness, the building’s aesthetic responds to its transit-centered context—the newly reconstructed CTA ‘L’ station; the Chicago River; pedestrian and automotive traffic patterns—while cost-effective, sustainable design components prove that a building can positively impact its residents and its environment—building a better future for all.
Sustainable Design Intent and Innovation
In terms of environmental sustainability, Lake Street Studios incorporates several cost-effective design strategies that will contribute to the financial sustainability through lower operating costs over time. These include:
• Transit-Oriented Site Selection so residents have easy access to public transportation
• An integrated envelope and high efficiency mechanical equipment, which achieves ongoing energy efficiency
• An Energy Use Intensity (EUI) that is 30% lower than the national average
• Solar Thermal Heating of domestic hot water
• Maximized daylighting at corridors and in the units with integrated motion and light sensors throughout the building
• Low emitting, healthy interior product specification
• A habitable vegetative roof
Lake Street Studios creates mutually beneficial outcomes for both its residents and the community — its prominent downtown location provides its residents with access to opportunities that otherwise would not be afforded in a different location and it both enhances the design aesthetic and contributes to the local economy of the West Loop community. It is not only a resource for the community, but an improvement of the neighborhood at large.
A high performance envelope, including a high R Value and continuous insulation, complying with the newly adopted International Energy Efficiency Code. (IECC) was integrated with other active and passive strategies such as solar thermal heating of domestic hot water and the optimization of daylighting at corridors and in the units with integrated motion and light sensors throughout the building. This resulted in a predicted Energy Use Intensity (EUI) that is 30% lower than the national average.
Given its proximity to the Loop, significant stock of heavy timber loft buildings, and gritty authenticity, the West Loop experienced solid growth in new residential conversions and restaurants over the past two decades. The opening of a reconstructed CTA station at Morgan and Lake and the subsequent decision by Google to relocate its main Chicago operation to 1000 W. Fulton has dramatically increased the pace of change in the neighborhood.
While this explosive growth has resulted in increased job opportunities in many sectors and income levels, housing has become increasingly expensive and put pressure on the last Single Room Occupancy (SRO) and private affordable developments in the area. Thus, while the potential employment prospects for low-income residents in the neighborhood were dramatically increasing, the ability of these residents to continue to live in the area and take advantage of these opportunities was slipping away.
Planned as a Transit Oriented Development, (TOD) Lake Street Studios was ahead of the curve in regards to City’s adoption of TOD Ordinance. Due to its location the
downtown core, (DX-7) and the micro unit program, no parking was required by right. The Illinois Housing Development Authority required that five parking spaces be provided and these are tucked neatly under the second floor. These spaces are considered voluntary by the City of Chicago Zoning Code.
In terms of a Walk Score, Lake Street Studios does extremely well. Walk Score is 97, this is the Walkers Paradise category, daily errands do not require a car. It is also worth mentioning that its Transit Score is also very high, at 92 the Rider’s Paradise category and it is considered Very Bike-able with Bike score of 86.
Because of the compact dimensions of the previously developed site (30’x 150’), the project was exempt from the
City’s stormwater requirements. Zoning, however required both a vegetative roof as well as resident recreation space be provided. The design solution is a habitable rooftop and stormwater run off is slowed through a vegetative roof system.
Inside the building, low flow plumbing fixtures were specified throughout as follows: 1.2 gpf toilets, 1.5 gpm showerheads, Urinals — 0.5 gpf or less, Kitchen faucets — 2.0 gpm or less, Bathroom faucets — 1.5 gpm or less. The water savings for water closets and urinals alone amounts to a 70% reduction over baseline. (140 gallons of water saved per day or 5,040 gallons per year.)
Low emitting, healthy interior product specification included low/no VOC paints, primers adhesives and sealants. 50% of construction debris was diverted from landfills. Lastly, the prefinished metal insulated panel skin was chosen for its highly recycled material content along with its durability, low maintenance and light weight properties.
Design Architect (FIRM)
Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED)