TWO-PLEX

Type Affordable housing

Location Chicago IL

Design Aneesha Dharwadker

Awards Jury shortlist, Disruptive Design Competition

Date 2019

Two-Plex hybridizes two familiar housing forms—the two-flat and the duplex—into a new paradigm for affordable living in Chicago. Two volumes are interlinked, like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle, into a single sustainable building: a three-bedroom “house” with an accessible entry and ground level designed for aging in place, and a one-bedroom “apartment” with a separate entry at ground level. The two units share a vertical core containing primary MEP elements, as well as a light-filled back stair and attached garage.

The street and alley are both activated as community spaces through a front porch, a raised back deck, and a roof garden.

 

At the neighborhood scale, this prototype takes on a unique form. When the design is expanded to multiple lots (as may occur in Bronzeville in particular), a public courtyard condition emerges. This courtyard is framed by a third building type: translucent volumes of channel glass that contain rentable retail, commercial, office, and flexible work spaces. Breaking down the uniformity of the residential block, this new organizing principle generates modern “mixed-use neighborhood” experiences, which have waned since zoning laws segregated residential and commercial sectors in the 20th century.

 

While addressing the changing nature of work at the urban scale, this proposal also seeks to restore what the gig economy has made scarce: a sense of stability and permanence, achieved through solid construction, sensitive programming, and a renewed sense of community and variety within the Chicago block.