Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Type:         Residential - Multi-Unit
Location:   Chicago, IL
Size:          2,500 SF
Status:      Design Competition Finalist

Our proposal for the Chicago Architecture Center & City of Chicago’s Come Home Initiative reimagines the design of the ubiquitous Chicago two-flat and asks “won’t you be my neighbor?”

In the traditional two-flat typology featuring two homes, one home is elevated off the street, reducing access and identity - two factors that can contribute to the pride of urban home ownership.  The design of this duplex takes advantage of the 125’ long standard Chicago lot to organize two vertical units around one common outdoor space, bringing both homes in connection with the shared urban realm and creating one building with two distinct identities.

Our approach to urban infill housing prioritizes open space for both the domestic and urban realms by minimizing the building footprint to 50% of the buildable lot area and expanding the underutilized space of the gangway.  The shared courts, taken collectively, form a new network of open space for the neighborhood.

The two units conjoin around a central utilitarian core, freeing up space at both ends of the building on each floor to be configured flexibly.  Private ground floor entries into each unit and private balconies on all sides bring in light and increase usable outdoor space for each unit.

Exterior space: shared court between units

1F: kitchen with access to outdoor & indoor dining

2F: open living space with access to side balcony

3F: upper level bedrooms + home office

© Studio Becker Xu, PLLC