Unit 2808

Type: Residential-Interior
Program: High-Rise Condo Unit
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Construction: Hi-Teq Construction
Status: Completed 2019
Brief: Renovation of a 860 SF space, including custom cabinetry and millwork

Oriented South towards the Chicago skyline, this 28th floor dwelling was renovated for a couple desiring an urban sanctuary as their second home. Beautiful light and captivating views were already present as the main ingredients for making this apartment as a tranquil space. All we had to do is to build around these phenomenal qualities in a complimentary way. Unlike our previous interventions within the Mies Van Der Rohe designed apartment buildings we removed all plaster walls then reconfigured the space creating vantage points that did not previously exist.

In this design we explored an architectural vocabulary where walls and built-ins are simply read as planes and surfaces that encompass the domestic space. Upon entry, a tall element comprised of white oak paneling greets you, concealing variety of daily functions contained within. The opposing horizontal kitchen section compliments the tall millwork, extending visually into the mirrored backsplash niche. This play on visual extensions is employed throughout, where reflectivity creates illusions and connections between architectural elements and the space that they support. Shelves disappear and reemerge behind the delicate walls, creating a backdrop for everyday living things. These floating black lines organize the primary living space and become visually lighter as they elevate vertically above the ground plane.

The long east wall separates the bathroom and conceals the unit’s primary storage. Its white reflective surface captures the views from the outside and pulls the light further into the apartment. Once the white reflective separation ends, an absorbent material surface takes over on its opposing side. This change in material and texture is meant to evoke a greater sense of intimacy towards the more private areas of the apartment, while also forming a visual dialogue with the palette used inside the main room.

Where the opaque wall terminates it gives way to layers of fabric echoing nature’s transition of water meeting sky in its color gradient. The curtain "wall" filters light and creates privacy at the sleeping room, allowing one to fully open the apartment towards the lakefront and the iconic 860/880 apartments across the way. Theatrically draped across the wood floor the fabric softens the refined ensemble, keeping the overall composition together as an enlivened, cohesive whole.

This projects design intervention embodies material restraint and highlights the precision of craft. It evokes a tranquil sense of place inside the historic context while focusing on the memorable city views and dynamic lakefront, capturing ephemeral qualities of natural light as it changes throughout each day.