Portland Access House

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Designed to enable long-term living in one’s own home, the Portland Access House combines single-level, barrier-free space with low-energy use comfort and extra income.

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The 1,500 square foot owner’s space is capped with a 795 square foot, one-bedroom apartment. This additional dwelling unit can be used for rental income, a family member, or a full-time caregiver.

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The house wraps around a south-facing courtyard. With generous windows and outdoor plazas, indoor-outdoor living can be enjoyed all year long.

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The view from the kitchen shows the visual connection to outdoor dining, raised planting beds and a reflecting pool. Even during Portland’s cool months, this outdoor amenity can be enjoyed, with the water’s surface reflecting moving patterns on the kitchen’s ceiling.

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The kitchen has been designed for maximum enjoyment and minimum obstruction. Counters are lowered and pull-under work spaces are provided at the sink and cooktop. The dishwasher and oven are raised to eliminate the need to bend over, and a cooking island is provided at counter height to facilitate social food preparation.

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Turning from the kitchen toward the living and dining rooms, the warmth of the space is combined with ample light and views. Radiant heat in the floors and massive brick walls maintain a warm equilibrium, eliminating the temperature swings of typical lightweight construction.

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The living space is wrapped with light and views.

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The bedroom can be left open to the living areas, yet privacy is gained with sliding doors. It also benefits from the animated light provided by the reflecting pool.

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The courtyard, viewed from the back yard, is a combination of nature and architecture. Raised planters cater to gardeners with limited mobility, and level, paved paths enable access to all parts of the garden.

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Viewed from the south, the courtyard combines openness to light with structured space. The veranda-style roof overhanging the south-facing windows blocks summer glare while welcoming the warming winter rays.

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Upstairs, the one bedroom apartment creates a generous home for renters, caregivers or family members who provides a helping hand.

The Portland Access House is designed for a typical Portland 50′ x 100′ lot. While it addresses mobility needs, it emphasizes the enjoyment of an unimpeded life, rather than treating a medical condition. My goal in designing this house is to enable long-term joy in living by opening up space and maintaining flexibility. I would be pleased to speak with you about how these ideas might apply to your own life.

Landmark Apartment Restoration

Located in Mies van der Rohe’s landmark steel and glass apartment towers at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, this apartment was in need of updating and backdating at the same time. My design for its renovation was guided by the building itself; to honor its groundbreaking architecture.

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The apartment layout was returned to original condition, with non-original closets and column enclosures removed.

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The kitchen was completely gutted. Bulthaup cabinets & stainless steel counters were used to evoke the building’s original Metalcraft cabinets. Satin-finished glass tile backsplashes recall the ground floor’s recessed curtainwall. Honed basalt floor pavers, heated by the building’s radiant floor system, create a comfortable, durable foundation.

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The highly customizable Bulthaup cabinets were exploited to maximum effect. All base cabinets utilized deep drawer storage, making this a very space efficient kitchen.

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The modest bathrooms were given a finish upgrade, with glass tile, Duravit fixtures and Hansgrohe faucets. Custom stainless steel trim wraps the shower entrance.

This project was an independent commission. I performed all design, development, documentation and presentation. I administered construction, and created all the photos and drawings in this post.

For more information about the building, please have a look at its website: www.860880lakeshoredrive.com

2 East Erie

Sometimes it helps to have a good relationship with your neighbors! Graham, Anderson, Probst & White had been doing various architectural projects for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters (aka Carpenters Union) for years. Given that the Carpenters’ headquarters were across the street from GAPW’s office, it’s not surprising. When the Carpenter’s Union decided to replace their existing, four-story building with a new mixed-use development, they insisted on GAPW as their architect.

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Located just two blocks from Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue, the Carpenters Union’s property was prime for residential, retail and office development. Partnering with The John Buck Company, the Carpenter’s Union sought to improve their headquarters while capitalizing on their land’s value.

The resulting 40-story, mixed-use tower became know as 2 East Erie. With one of Chicago’s premier late-night bar & grills as its sole retail tenant, the rest of the base was composed of lobbies for the office and residential occupancies, as well as a meeting hall for the Carpenters Union.

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The base of the building was clad in warm brick and stone, seen here at the residential lobby entrance. A laminated glass canopy provides shelter while minimizing shadows.

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Inside the residential lobby, the exterior’s theme of tonal framework is expressed in rich oak panels.

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In the apartments, it’s all about corners. Floor to ceiling glass and column free corners combine to make apartments feel light and spacious. Unlike most apartment buildings, the compact layout of 2 East Erie allowed us to place the living areas on the corners. Even inboard units have projecting glass bays, giving the living space multi-directional views.

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This elevation drawing makes clear the building’s complex development. The base, composed in two parts, reflects the scale of adjacent neighborhood buildings. This articulation of scale masks the six-level parking garage and its sloping floors within. The next five floors of the tower house the Carpenter’s Union headquarters, and the remaining floors are dedicated to residential. The penthouse has apartment amenities, including a roof deck, workout room and party room.

My work on this project was done while I was an employee of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. I performed design, development and documentation, including full three-dimensional study of the tower’s interior and exterior. I also did all the residential floor plan layout, including unit mix studies and accessibility conformance.

Photographs in this post were created by Mark Ballogg of Steinkamp Ballogg Photography. I made the rendered drawings.

 

Rialto Theater Condominiums

The Rialto Theater is the heart of downtown Joliet, Illinois. While the focus is on the historic theater, this whole block development includes retail, offices, and apartments. The 1926 project’s architects were Rapp & Rapp, who often designed mixed-use theater complexes.

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The theater was given an extensive restoration in the 1980s, but the rest of the complex remained in original, deteriorating condition. The residential portion was abandoned, and found to be in an advanced state of decay when Graham, Anderson, Probst & White was retained.

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After thorough investigation, it was determined that the residential building was structurally beyond saving, so the client requested that we study replacing it.

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Our project combined ground floor retail with seven floors of condominiums. One special requirement was that our building had to accommodate a theater exit that was part of the original residential building. The textured precast concrete panels of the new building recall the molded terracotta panels of the original complex.

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I laid out the condominium units to be as flexible as possible. As there was very little residential development in downtown Joliet, it was not clear what the market for this building would be. By carefully arranging kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces, the floor could be maximized for smaller units (plan above) or larger units (plan below).

I designed this project while an employee of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. I created all the photos, renderings and plan drawings in this post.