Launch Slideshow

Chicago Residence

Chicago Residence

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    Scott McDonald/Hedrich Blessing

    The architects set the new second and third floors back from the street elevation.

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    Scott McDonald/Hedrich Blessing

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    Scott McDonald/Hedrich Blessing

    And they skillfully punctured the house with industrial-style windows and doors to promote an indoor/outdoor relationship.

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    Searl and Associates

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    Searl and Associates

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    Searl and Associates

The best adaptive-reuse projects embrace the extra layer of history within them. Take this former one-story bowling alley in Chicago. Searl and Associates, Architects, added two more levels with bedrooms, bathrooms, and an exercise room, making the building unmistakable for anything except a house. But they also kept some original elements as a reminder of the project's former life. The old, hardwood bowling-lane flooring now forms a series of floating ceiling panels in the public rooms and covers the upstairs floors. Newly chosen items, too, hark back to the pre-World War I structure's commercial past. “At the time, buildings like this in Chicago were built almost like factories,” says architect Linda Searl. “We wanted to use materials that reflected the same ideas, such as steel windows rather than wood.”

The new house relates to the outdoors in ways the old building never did. The client bought an adjacent empty lot, which now serves as a private, landscaped side yard with multiple entries into the main floor. And Searl and her associates Gregory Howe and Pamela Lamaster-Millett designed six additional exterior spaces, including terraces off both bedrooms and a rooftop patio with a hot tub. The building's new portions are clad in cement board and patinated zinc, distinguishing them at a glance from the old brick walls. The end product is a house that acknowledges its roots while slipping comfortably into its new identity. “It's a clear plan concept and nice materials,” said a judge. “Nothing is labored.”

Project Credits
Entrant/Architect: Searl and Associates, Architects, Chicago
Builder: S.R. McGuire Builder, Chicago
Landscape architect: James Differding, Chicago
Interior designer: Shallan Hazlewood, Chicago
Living space: 3,426 square feet
Site: .6 acre
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: Scott McDonald/Hedrich Blessing

Resources: Bathroom plumbing fittings: Dornbracht; Bathroom plumbing fixtures: Duravit and Kohler; Ceramic tile flooring: Bisazza; Countertops: Avonite; Dishwasher: Miele; Entry doors and patio doors: U.S. Aluminum; Fireplace: Majestic; Garbage disposer: GE; Hardware: FSB; HVAC equipment: Trane; Insulation: Owens Corning; Kitchen plumbing fittings: Waterworks; Kitchen plumbing fixtures: Franke; Lighting fixtures: BK Lighting, Eureka, and Kurt Versen; Oven: Dacor; Paints: Benjamin Moore; Refrigerator: GE; Security system: Keyth; Skylights: Velux; Structural lumber: Trus Joist; Vinyl flooring: Allstate; Windows: Weather Shield; Wood flooring: Henderson.