WICKER PARK ESCAPE POD
Chicago, Illinois

 

The owners of this 1880s Italianate two-flat wanted to convert the property to a single-family home and add space. The design intent was to maintain the historic facade in accordance with landmark regulations while renovating the interior and adding a contemporary steel and glass addition to the rear of the home. The addition is a two story space evoking the typology of an orangery - a glass enclosed structure used as a conservatory, common in England where the owners have lived.

 

The original two-flat was unified into a single-family residence by a three-story atrium with an open steel and wood staircase connecting all floors. The atrium, with large overhead skylights, functions as a light well for the lower floors.  Steel catwalks bridge the front and rear of the home at the second and third levels.  The existing crawl space was excavated and enlarged into a true lower level with highly insulated concrete walls and slab.

 

A landscaped terrace, clad in ipe wood, is located on the roof of the addition and is accessible from the third floor living space as well as an exterior staircase. A unique design element is an operable 17ft glass hangar door at the rear of the addition that can be opened to create a continuous interior-exterior space.

 

Sustainable design elements include recycled materials, energy efficient LED lighting, rainwater collection system, drought-tolerant plantings, high-efficiency mechanicals, solar hot water system, radiant floor heating, and infrastructure for future geothermal installation.