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A zinc house facade debutes this modern architecure design

Zinc House

6,000 sf, 5 bed, 6.5 bath

Chicago, IL​

This family home offers the clients a strong connection to the outdoors while maintaining seclusion in their city neighborhood. The structure is L-shaped with a shielded façade and a rear elevation defined by operable window walls facing southwest over a private landscaped yard. The project brief included open-plan living with space for art, primary suite with private sundeck, gym, sport court, and a kid’s hangout room with bunks for sleepovers.


On the front elevation, three parallel planes step back from the street, preserving privacy while allowing light and framed views through floor-to-ceiling windows inset between them. The planes are clad in warm, standing seam zinc panels. The second and third planes have glass inset at the lower right corner, and the upper left corner of the third plane is clad in wood laminate. These details give the impression of stripping away the zinc to reveal the interior structure of the home. A garden of trees and weathered steel planters guide a path to the front door.


Slab-on-grade construction integrates interior and exterior spaces by placing them at the same level. A double-height great room amplifies the connection to the outdoors, which includes a patio, outdoor kitchen, and fireplace lounge framed by a steel pergola with oculus. The rear elevation is defined by beveled portals and deep overhangs, offering passive solar shading and focused skyline views.


Indoors, a switchback staircase with floating treads and glass guardrails is designed so views of nature are integral to the experience of circulating through the home. A steel ribbon staircase, suspended over the great room, leads to the primary suite which has a two-sided fireplace opening to a terrace with a spa overlooking the city. Throughout, oversized windows offer passive cooling and abundant ventilation to improve indoor air quality.


A green roof system mitigates rain water runoff, and drought-tolerant plantings reduce the need for watering. Existing specimens were incorporated into the landscape design: large trees were maintained and protected during construction; smaller trees were relocated and replanted.

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This Lakeview home takes a unique approach to city living by dramatically integrating with the landscape. The owners, a couple with three children, wanted a private, yet light-filled home with a strong connection to the outdoors... read more

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