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Cordogan Clark & Associates

Cordogan Clark & Associates

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Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Site Plan
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Site Plan
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LARKIN PLACE: A New Community with Historic "Sense of Place"

Larkin Place is an integrated permanent supportive housing project in Elgin, Illinois that uses “New Urbanist” design principles to create a special, historically charged “sense of place.” The development consists of 48 units in 12 new-construction, multifamily apartment buildings, and the preservation and historic reuse of the former Larkin Center. Developed by Full Circle Communities, it serves populations with special needs, and working families, and a broad range of Elgin renters in need of affordable housing.

The historic Larkin Center, built in 1912 as an orphanage and an Elgin landmark listed on the National Historic Register, gets new life as the focus of this new supportive residential development. The Larkin Center building, together with a smaller historic building nearby, have been renovated in accordance with National Registry standards and now include apartments, a community room, fitness center, library/study room, computer lab, laundry, storage and office space for the Association for Individual Development, with a full-time resident coordinator on site to help residents with financial counseling, tax preparation and connections to first-time home buyer programs for working families, officials.

Filling out the rest of the block are 12 new two-story residential buildings that recall an older, typical Elgin neighborhood. Constructed in Georgian Revival style compatible with Elgin’s historic architecture, these twelve buildings resemble single family homes but include 47 apartments. These residential buildings are unusual for the level of quality and detail they bring to workforce housing. The Larkin development is also distinctive for the way in which it separates apartments into smaller buildings that resemble single family homes. This merges the apartments with the scale of the surrounding community of single family residences. Also distinctive are the generous front porches, a key feature of “new urbanist’ design but unusual for contemporary affordable housing.

The Larkin streetfront of outdoor porches is remarkable for its level and variety of detail. The front porch, which went out of vogue following World War II, has played a key role in fostering community, and makes a comeback here. It creates a transition between the private and public realm, where people can meet friends and neighbors. It is an outdoor living room that provides a setting where people can see their neighbors face to face, and where parents can watch their children play outdoors. It creates a semi-private, semi-public zone where people can interact with the surrounding community.

Redeveloping the center lets local residents with disabilities remain in the neighborhoods they know and love, Lindsey Haines, Full Circle's vice president for real estate development. "It's amazing what a doorway that is wide enough, an elevator and accessible bathroom can do to change a person's life," Haines said at the time. "It's so important because 94 percent of housing in Elgin was built before ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements and have limited" features for the disabled.

 
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Status: Built
Location: Elgin, IL, US
Firm Role: Architecture, Engineering,
Additional Credits: JJ Duffy Construction, General Contractor

 
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Historic Building
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Historic Building
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Historic Building
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Historic Building
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Historic Building
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Historic Building
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Streetscape
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Streetscape
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Streetscape
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Streetscape
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Streetscape
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Streetscape
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Streetscape
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Streetscape
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Larkin Building Apartment
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Larkin Building Apartment
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Larkin Building Apartment
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Larkin Building Apartment
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Context Aerial
Larkin Place, Elgin, IL: Context Aerial