Margot & Harold Schiff Residences / Chicago, Illinois/ 2004‑2007
Size: 47,000 sq ft / 4,370 sq m
Height: 5 floors; 52 ft / 16 m
Units: 96 SRO
Status: Completed 2007
Recognition: AIA Chicago Chapter Award; AIA Chicago Sustainable Design Award; Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architecture Excellence in Community Design; Metropolitan Home’s 100 Best Design Innovations; Home Depot Foundation Award for Affordable and Sustainable Housing; LEED Silver
Affordable housing requires equal access to thoughtful design and quality construction. At the Margot and Harold Schiff Residences, our team set aspirational goals to serve occupants, the community, and the environment.
From the outset, our team integrated innovative environmentally conscious systems into the design concept, including wind turbines, greywater reuse systems, and solar energy. The enclosure is optimized for energy performance using highly insulated metal wall panels with punched windows of insulated low-e-coated glazing and interior sunshades to modulate daylight. Vertical fan coil units supply each unit with individual heating and cooling control, and the roof-mounted wind turbines and solar array provide energy to the building. Greywater from lavatories and showers is filtered and reused for toilet flushing, and the permeable site design allows irrigation and site maintenance water to be sourced from rainwater collection. These various environmental strategies resulted in an energy usage reduction of 14,500 BTU per-square-foot compared to a similar code-compliant building and earned a LEED Silver rating.
The building’s materials are minimal, visible, and locally sourced, including concrete for the structure and glass with profiled stainless steel for the facade. Individual punched windows give the units a feeling of individuality and maintain the surface in the metal façade. The simple form responds to the urban condition while assuring that minimum material is necessary for enclosure.
The project offers 96 single-room occupancy permanent supportive housing units for formerly unhoused individuals and residents of Cabrini Green. The upper floors of the building provide beautiful views of the downtown area, while the ground floor is dedicated to supportive services, counseling, and community facilities.