Avenue Equity recognized Pilsen as a budding neighborhood in Chicago and wanted to contribute to the unique architectural European heritage of the area. Seven Chicago lots were acquired and intend to be three six-flat and one three-flat apartment units. The existing site, containing a one-story abandoned industrial building, would be demolished to achieve the urban neighborhood level density that Pilsen proudly boasts.
The design evolved from the context of the neighborhood housing stock. At a macro level scale, the irregular placement of the buildings in their lots along 21st Street prompted the placement of the new buildings to move with the existing, irregular rhythm. Looking vertically, the facade shapes and fenestration of the existing structures nearby inspired the serrated roofs to achieve variation and scale that is similar to the neighboring buildings. Introducing a new move, the six-flat buildings were stretched in both directions to maximize daylight, cross ventilation, and create community lawns. The result is a break in the existing streetscape that produces a new architecture while borrowing key elements of the existing Pilsen fabric.