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JGMA

Chicago

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KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
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KLEO Art Residence

The KLEO Art Residences intentionally challenge norms in affordable housing construction by making natural light and quality of living the overriding priority in the project. The project represents the first time in Chicago’s history where polycarbonate panels represent the majority of the exterior envelope.  

The building is one piece in a greater comprehensive strategy for reinvigorating the Washington Park community on Chicago’s South Side. The inspiration for the Art Residences project emerged from KLEO’s mission, Keep Loving Each Other, but most importantly by continuing the legacy of Kleo Y. Barrett, who was a victim of a domestic violence incident that took her life. Her name and legacy will continue to inspire the project and encourage families affected by domestic violence. 

Major project design challenges were derived through numerous listening sessions with community stakeholders to understand what the Washington Park area needed to create positive change. After numerous meetings, the consensus was to develop an affordable housing complex that was specifically tailored towards servicing the needs of local artists, an up and coming profession within the area. The design team then used the opportunity to meet with local artists within the community to understand what living means to them. The common denominator in this exploration was a very benign and important response; it was to provide maximum daylight within the interior spaces for their working studios. An element that is often overlooked within affordable housing complexes.  

In addition to creating comfortable living and working spaces, the artist’s conveyed to the design team that the community lacked a sufficient location for them to sell their art and suggested that spaces be integrated within the design to cover this deficiency. It was also conveyed that spaces in which the artists could typically afford more often than not, lacked life through design. It was therefore requested that the newly designed KLEO Art Residences would offer an interiority that would bring pride and vibrancy to a space in which they would not normally see within their price range.  

In response of insufficient workable daylight, the design team chose instead not to remove transparent materials like glass as commonly seen in affordable housing projects, but to give tenants something extraordinary, diffused and vibrant natural daylighting via a polycarbonate façade. As a result, the KLEO art residences explore natural light, from diffused to direct to emphasize the necessity of natural light in affordable housing. The implementation has served as a catalyst for the use of new materials on low income housing projects. During daytime, the interiors literally glow with natural daylight from the polycarbonate façade, allowing for improved workable spaces for artists to complete their work within.  

KLEO Art Residences includes 58 residential units. The ground level contains retail space and community rooms serving as working studios for the artists to showcase, exhibit and sell their work to the community. The artists’ spaces that face Michigan Avenue were designed with individual roll-up doors that allow artists to share their work and their wares with the community.

The design team chose to respond to the lack of vibrancy within typical affordable living spaces through color application. Colors derived from local murals were used to distinguish floor levels in the building, by using pops of color within lobbies and corridors to liven spaces that would otherwise be treated with standard finishes.  

While form and mass of the building are designed to fit seamlessly within the area, the translucent façade is designed to do the opposite. This provides optimal daylighting for residents/ artists on the inside, while in the evening hours, the building literally glows and becomes a beacon within the community, eliciting pride and hope for residents within Washington Park and well beyond.

 
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Status: Built
Location: Chicago, IL, US
Firm Role: Design Architect / Architect of Record
Additional Credits: Civil Engineer: David Mason & Associates
Structural Engineer: Forefront
MEP / FP Engineer: Cosentini
General Contractor: JJ Duffy Construction
Landscape: Landscape Architect: Site Design Group
Furniture & art by local Chicago artists.

 
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Mark Ballogg
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Mark Ballogg
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Lee Bey
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Lee Bey
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: JGMA
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Mark Ballog
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Mark Ballog
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Mark Ballogg
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Mark Ballogg
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Lee Bey
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Lee Bey
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Lee Bey
KLEO Art Residences. Photography: Lee Bey