Creating an affordable space for seniors, and a perfect fit for the community
To address the need for affordable housing options that allow local seniors to remain in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood, WJW's design for the Kilpatrick Renaissance primarily focused on three themes: community connection, an elevated palette in an affordable setting, and technical innovation.
WJW chose to evoke the scale and texture of a traditional Chicago city block with a contemporary twist when tasked with making the Kilpatrick Renaissance indistinguishable from a market-rate development. The exterior of the building offers rich details, including a combination of over ten different types of brick and stone masonry, which were highlighted by projecting window bays clad in crisply detailed aluminum rainscreen panels.
The intentional design elevates the structure beyond a collection of individual residences; the emphasis on community wellness is visible throughout the structure, with spaces designed for gardening, music, reading, and fitness. A public community garden for neighborhood use and resident interaction was incorporated into the site plan, providing a place for neighbors from adjoining blocks to grow their own produce while volunteering to help the senior residents.
The enclosure also demonstrates incredible energy efficiency with a primary structural system consisting entirely of precast wall, floor, and roof panels that allowed for continuous exterior insulation of the walls. Exposing the finely-finished precast concrete on the interior resulted in dramatic savings on the cost of interior drywall installation and finishing, allowing more of the budget to go toward upgrading the exterior materials palette. Additionally, a highly efficient HVAC system consisting of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) units, and a rainwater harvesting system allowed for ongoing cost savings along with increased functionality.
The meticulous attention to detail, combined with enhanced functionality and user experience, earned this project numerous awards, including the 2015 Senior Housing News Design Award for Best Affordable.