Newport Residence

Type: Residential-Gut Rehab
Program: Single-Family Home
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Construction: DiCosola Group
Status: Completed 2017
Brief: Conversion of a two flat multi-family building into a single family residence with a third floor addition

This project is situated 75 feet away from the elevated train tracks, close enough to hear the next stop, as it’s announced over the train’s intercom. With desire to live in a “minimal” type space, our clients with two young children bought a typical Chicago masonry two-flat building with intent to convert it into a single family home.

The existing conditions were not ideal for a conventional conversion, nothing was level, low ceilings, dark interior and lack of connectivity between individual floor plates added to the complexity for the desired outcome. Therefore, our approach was to eliminate everything from within, leaving the exterior load bearing shell in place and strategically puncture the envelope for light and views. In order to stitch all the building levels together as one contiguous home rather than individually stacked floor plates, we introduced a central staircase that runs the height of the home. This newly created vertical void soars upwards and out, connecting the levels together, bringing natural light down at each floor throughout the day.

Furthermore, the white interior and strategic openings at the exterior walls frame the immediate urban conditions. With focus on the neighboring exterior common brick walls, the interior spaces are stretched outwards, blurring the boundary between the interior and the outside as we kept some of the brick as finish material on the inside of the home as well.

While the front of the house remained intact, the rear embraces the alley and the elevated train. The articulation of this south elevation is a result of the interior program, with floor to ceiling windows in the kitchen for light, ventilation and views, privacy in the bedrooms and horizontal framing of the moving train as it goes by at eye level of the top floor. Clad in a narrow ship-lap siding from cut down standard fiber-cement boards adds texture and depth to the facade as the South sun rays rake across its surface. Traditionally the rear of these buildings have been very much a non-priority of what people view, but we considered the rear elevation as equally important as the front, offering a nicer vantage for those passengers that ride the EL.


2018  Curbed