SKY VAULT

Chicago, Illinois

 

This new penthouse overlooks Lincoln Park. The owner had obtained 4000sf of raw space atop a high-rise condominium building and wanted a contemporary residence that maximized expansive city and lake views. Program requirements included spa-like master suite, two en suite bedrooms, library and ample space for the owner’s art collection.

 

Located in a French traditional building, the space had vaulted ceilings and arched windows that reflected the mansard roof. Influenced by these unalterable elements, the design replicates the vault detail in the ceilings and doorways throughout. These massive arches offer dramatic space for art and custom steel shelving and temper the impact of the 14-foot ceilings. They also conceal utility lines that would have disrupted ceiling planes.

 

Contemporary details enhance traditional elements. A minimalist reveal is used in place of baseboards and recessed linear floor lights wash the walls and up-light the arched windows with a 360-degree spread. Oversized oak planks offer a modern reinterpretation of herringbone flooring and match the large scale of the space.

 

An edited material palette ensures design continuity throughout: white oak floors, cabinets, and paneling; white ceilings, walls and countertops; and porcelain marble slabs in bathrooms and kitchen. The veneer of the cabinets, panels and doors was carefully sourced to match the flooring.

 

Structural challenges influenced the design. Living spaces were located at the perimeter to maximize views, but utility stacks did not align with this plan. To overcome this issue, we raised the master suite one step to provide clearance to connect the new bathroom to the existing plumbing stack and routed new kitchen water lines through the ceiling of the unit below.

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