Location: Chicago, IL
Size: 5,000 SF
Completion: Dec 2011
General Contractor: Benchdog Construction Corp
Award: AIA Chicago Honor Award
The Carr family loved living in Chicago with all of its amenities and conveniences, but with two children and a mom working from home, they needed a bigger place. They found a unique industrial site within Roscoe Village that also offered a doublewide lot, an original brick exterior and timber beams with wood plank ceilings.
But the former woodshop came with challenges. The 50-foot-wide building is sandwiched between Chicago’s iconic L-line and its Metra rail. Parts of the building’s wooden roof had weathered to the point of rot. Still, the family wanted to convert the workshop to an open, family-friendly floor plan that took advantage of the existing wood beams, the brick industrial exterior and 21st century eco-friendly technologies.
The area of rotted wood ceilings was used as an opportunity to insert an interior courtyard and a two-story space. The courtyard creates a focal point visible from all rooms of the house and brings in light to the interior children’s bedrooms. During warmer weather, large courtyard doors open from the corners to allow natural ventilation to flow through the house.
Undamaged timber salvaged from the roof is reused as stair treads that lead to the new second floor media room and family office. The new second story roof seems to peel up from the existing roofline, which can be seen by commuters on both the Metra and L-train lines.
Green technologies have been introduced throughout the house. A 30-foot well provides the home with geothermal heating and cooling via radiant floors. The complex curve of the roof directs rainwater into a cistern beneath the courtyard that is reused for landscape irrigation. The home is insulated with high-efficiency soy-based foam. Cabinets were locally fabricated. Photovoltaic panels provide the home with solar energy. Investments made in all these sustainable methods will be repaid through energy savings within five years.
[designed while at Wilkinson Blender Architects]