Chicago Residence

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Chicago Residence

Single-Family Residence

Chicago, Illinois

Dirk Denison Architects (

The Michelle Litvin Studio  (

Interior Designer
Dirk Denison Architects

Mechanical Engineer
Building Engineering Systems

Structural Engineer

Electrical Engineer:  Building Engineering Systems

Civil Engineer

Construction Manager

General Contractor
Tip Top Builders

Landscape Architect

Lighting Designer
Filament 33, Inc.

Any other consultants, with their roles
Bryan Schuetze, Aquamoon
Aquatic Systems Design

The design of this single-family home maintains the urban townhouse relationship with its neighbors while exploring a sophisticated logic of materials and construction.  Dynamic spatial relationships are created through overlapping materials and the layering of interior and exterior.  Visual connections are created from indoor spaces and passages to garden terraces, outdoor landscaping and the adjacent park.  Fine articulation and craft of a simple yet rich palette comprise restrained minimal spaces that emphasize the family’s activities, artwork and extensive fish collection in large, integrated aquariums.

From the entrance up through three floors to the roof deck terraces the main stair is the vertical core of the home. At the top of the stair a large light monitor allows natural light deep into the building, while a railing of stainless steel and translucent glazing reflect and diffuse the light, adding to the dynamics of the space.  A central pendant light fixture composed of many silken cords each holding a lamp, stretch throughout the stairway, lighting one’s path upward through the home. The solid ash of the floor carries through to the treads of the stair, further connecting each level.

The home utilizes sustainable and environmentally friendly materials and technologies such as green roof systems, automated shade controls, geothermal heating and cooling, a highly insulated building envelope, and low VOC-emission substrates.  Windows are fabricated with insulated, low-e coated glazing, with an additional UV film installed on its interior pane.  In addition, the outer pane of glass consists of two laminated glass layers, adding to the insulating quality of the glazing while minimizing exterior sound absorption. The shifting volumes and primary southern exposure maximize daylighting throughout the home, minimizing the family’s dependence on artificial lighting.  The building’s products and materials inform a responsible and enduring design.

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