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The project is a new 3-story, 6,000 square foot residential building located on the final southwest corner lot of the SOS Children’s Villages Chicago Village in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

“Founded in 1945, SOS-Kinderdorf International is the largest nonprofit in the world dedicated to the care of orphaned, abandoned, and other vulnerable children. SOS Children’s Villages Illinois offers an innovative approach to traditional foster care, giving children the opportunity to live in a nurturing, stable, single-family home with their brothers and sisters in the care of a full-time, professionally trained Foster Parent.”

Opened in 2004, the Chicago Village is located on 7.5 acres on the former site of an old mattress factory. It consists of 17 single-family homes, the Lavezzorio Community Center designed by Studio Gang, and a large park to the south. As part of the master plan for the village, Studio Gang selected MAS Studio to design one of the last two housing projects facing the park.

The goal of the project is two-fold: to provide multiple gathering spaces for each family and the community within the building, and to take advantage of the hinge condition of the building between the residential fabric to the north and the large park to the south.

Each of the three stories includes two 2 bed/2 bath residential units to house single mothers and their children. Each room features a large window, with the ones in the bedrooms acting also as personal seating areas, while the one in the living room/dinning room frames the view of the park.

On each floor, an oversized corridor connects both units while providing a communal space where children and residents can play and interact. This space opens up to the street through operable translucent panels, turning the space into a series of balconies to the street, promoting an interaction between building and the neighborhood residents. It also creates a permeable space that can become semi-outdoor with warm weather and a greenhouse during the cold months. Each floor has a large hole covered by netting to create suspended play spaces for children and allow visual connection between floors. A 3-story mural by local artist Cody Hudson becomes the visual centerpiece of the space.

The outdoor areas, including the required parking spaces, are paved with permeable pavers allowing greenery to grow through in order to blend the edge between park and residential development. The pavers also allow rainwater to be gradually filtered back into the soil, helping to reduce stormwater runoff. The green roof includes native plantings that help to reduce the urban heat-island effect, conserve water, reduce energy costs and interior noise, and create habitats for a diversity of birds and insects.

Ultimately, this residential project creates multiple communal spaces within the building to facilitate social interactions between residents while providing modern unit layouts with personal spaces enhanced by its unique location by a park.

Unfortunately, the State of Illinois two-year budget impasse made the construction of the project, financed in part by several state and city grants, unviable after having submitted the pricing set.


Type: Architecture
Location: Auburn Gresham, Chicago
Author: MAS Studio in collaboration with LSA
Team: Iker Gil, Julie Michiels, André Correa, Danrui Xiang, Micah Stanley, and Christopher Lawton
Collaborating Artist: Cody Hudson
Client: SOS Children’s Villages
Developer: Related Midwest
Structural Engineer: Rocky Structures LLC
MEP Engineer: Cosentini
Civil Engineer: SPACECO
Size: 6,000 square feet
Year: 2015
Status: Completed, Unbuilt