Chicago Apartment

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Chicago Apartment | Notes of Interest

The 5,500-square-foot penthouse apartment, located in a new high-rise in the Midwest, includes four bedrooms and a custom-designed playroom. The clients are collectors of contemporary Asian art, and the display of their collection played a central part in the development of the spaces.

The main social spaces are lined by warm wood surfaces conceptually set within larger, brightly lit, open circulation areas. Rather than walls, shear lines of material divisions define rooms and separate the living spaces. Family members can be in close proximity but occupy completely different environments. The art is positioned around the perimeter of each space according to sequence, scale, and sight lines. Sculpture is used for its silhouette and to create an element of surprise.

The basic white palette of the apartment is defined by living spaces lined with plain-sliced walnut, mediated with perforated aluminum screens. Walnut floors are used throughout, and open-slatted walnut ceilings are installed in the living room, dining room, and kitchen to conceal lighting fixtures, sprinklers, and acoustical material. Larger custom-designed elements include digitally designed and fabricated aluminum plate screens and a rubber playroom with climbing surface.

Daylighting strategies focus on using reflective surfaces to distribute light from the perimeter to the center of the floor plan. The aluminum screens create a layered effect, allowing the spaces to feel open and connected while still distinctly separate. The exterior shell of the project (by others) is certified LEED® Platinum.

Photo Credit

    © Paul Crosby Studio

Chicago Apartment

  • Architect: VJAA
  • Location: Chicago

Jury Comments

This is a beautifully conceived and detailed work of interior architecture employing traditional principles of modernism while transforming and extending that language with an innovative and carefully considered vocabulary of materials, colors, and patterns.

Horizontal planes of wood are designed with strong textures of color and pattern.

Semitransparent vertical planes of perforated aluminum create patterns that are equally strong but also quiet and diaphanous.

The overall character of the space is bold yet quiet and contemplative.

More about Chicago Apartment.  

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury

  • Andrew Wells, FAIA (Chair)
  • Dake Wells Architecture, Springfield, Missouri
  • Susan H. Jones, FAIA
  • Atelierjones, LLC, Seattle
  • Carlos M. Martinez, AIA
  • Gensler, Chicago
  • Ronald J. McCoy, FAIA
  • Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Catherine M. Truman, AIA
  • Ann Beha Architects, Boston

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