IFF Access Housing

Architect:  Landon Bone Baker Architects

Owner:  IFF

Location:  Chicago, IL

Category Four: Excellence in Housing Accessibility - Alan J. Rothman Award


Capitalizing on vacant homes and infill lots scattered across a 2.5-mile footprint, IFF Access Housing delivers 25 affordable rental homes for people with disabilities while also helping to stabilize Chicago’s Humboldt Park and Logan Square communities. The project is set apart by its human focus and scale, which allow residents to thrive in charming homes that blend into the community rather than concentrating them on a single site.

In these two gentrifying neighborhoods, many of the rentals offered at the same price point were neglected and considered teardowns, though their lots were ideal for infill housing. Renovating the poorly maintained buildings presented the team with significant challenges, but rehabilitation was the most sustainable choice, reinforced by zoning restrictions and a need to preserve the existing urban fabric.

Since disabilities can take many forms, each home is filled with universal and accessible features. Ground-floor units feature no-step thresholds and low peepholes, while wheelchair-friendly kitchens and thoughtfully designed bathrooms round out the amenities. Each unit includes design features that serve all potential residents, such as soothing color palettes for those with sensory issues and visual doorbells for the deaf.

For the new construction, the project capitalized on the existing context, which comprises a wide array of shapes, sizes, roof forms, and materials. Elements of the new homes directly relate to the surrounding buildings, but their modest forms belie the moniker of affordable housing and delight with their proportions, outdoors spaces, and colors.

Additional information

Engineer—Structural: AP Engineering

Engineer—Civil: Prism Engineering

Engineer—MEP: Lehman Design Consultants

Landscape Architect: McKay Landscape Architects

General Contractor: Tropic Construction


Simon Ha, AIA, Chair, Principal at Steinberg Hart, Los Angeles, CA

Kai-Uwe Bergmann, AIA, Partner at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), New York, NY

Hans Butzer, AIA, Director at Butzer Architects and Urbanism, Oklahoma City, OK

Mary Cerrone, AIA, Mary Cerrone Architects, Pittsburgh, PA

Regina Gray, Social Science Analyst at Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC

Rachelle Levitt, Director of Research Utilization at Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC

Image credits

IFF-announcement image 1

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