Tierra Linda

Architect:  Landon Bone Baker Architects

Owner:  LUCHA

Location:  Chicago, IL

Category three: Community-Informed Design Award


With a focus on healthy living and wellness, Tierra Linda offers 45 affordable apartments in Chicago’s Humboldt Park and Logan Square neighborhoods and includes the first passive house constructed in the city. The project was guided by the developer’s commitment to green and sustainable housing and its mission to broaden neighborhood access to those frequently displaced in Chicago’s rapidly shifting housing market.

Sitting alongside the 606 Trail, a 2.7-mile elevated park built on the bones of an industrial train line, Tierra Linda was envisioned by a development team comprised of architects, maintenance staff, tenants, and neighbors. The process included a number of charettes to better educate the participants about the benefits of green housing. These community engagement efforts also spurred a number of design responses, in particular the project’s vibrant buildings that serve as a visual reminder that Latinx families are both welcome and seen as vital to the success of the city’s neighborhoods.

The hallmark of the project is Passive House, home to six low-income families overcoming homelessness or recovering from the effects of climate change-fueled weather events such as Hurricane Maria. The design team employed an integrative design approach to explore the best technologies and components to ensure the house was to code. The developer consulted with the Passive House Institute to ensure feasibility and, later, with the city’s departments of buildings and housing for administrative relief on several critical HVAC configurations. Tierra Linda also includes a sister building that was designed to comply with code-minimum Energy Star requirements, allowing the team to compare energy use between the two structures.

Tierra Linda is a prime example of an exceptional, sustainable project that greatly benefits the community it serves. It’s resounding success has set a new bar for future Chicago developments and ushered in a new era of passive housing for both affordable housing and for-profit developers.

Additional information

General Contractor: Linn-Mathes Inc.

Engineer—Civil: Eriksson Engineering and Associates

Engineer—MEP: RTM Engineering Consultants

Engineer—Structural: Virgilio & Associates

Landscape Architect: McKay Landscape Architects

Consultant: Eco-Achievers; Passive House Institute US


Emily Roush-Elliott, AIA (Chair), Delta Design Build Workshop, Greenwood, Mississippi

Valarie D. Franklin, AIA, Moody Nolan,  Nashville, Tennessee

Michael E. Willis, FAIA, Oakland, California

Guido Hartray, AIA, Marvel Architects, New York, NY

S. Claire Conroy, Sola Group, Inc., Chicago, IL

Eileen Faulkner, Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC

Regina Gray, Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC

Image credits

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Ballogg Photography

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Ballogg Photography

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Ballogg Photography

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Landon Bone Baker Architects

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Ballogg Photography