Holabird & Root transformed the Kenmore Apartments from a vacant 1920’s era building to contemporary, high-quality apartments for seniors. The 90,000-s.f., eight-story building underwent a complete gut rehab that relocated the core, improved circulation paths and accessibility, and created 100 new single-bedroom apartments. Since opening in February 2011, the building has redefined expectations for affordable senior housing and was recently certified the first LEED Platinum public housing building in Chicago.
A new canopy adds elegance to the exterior of the Kenmore Apartments, while shared spaces inside (including a library with a fireplace, a multipurpose room, and a fitness center) create a sense of community. The design facilitates senior living, including niches outside each apartment that create a “front porch” feel and allow residents to personalize their space, and different colors on each floor level that create a sense of orientation for seniors. Once an eyesore, the building is now a part of the neighborhood’s revitalization.
Protecting Chicago’s greatest natural resource, Lake Michigan, through water reduction and stormwater management was of utmost importance throughout the project. To achieve this goal, interior courtyards were retrofitted with rain gardens that not only reduce stormwater runoff, but also provide a respite from urban living. Within the limited urban lot, a 7,000-s.f. green roof was designed to restore the native habitat, create open space, and reduce stormwater runoff. Furthermore, additional objectives such as conserving energy, improving daylighting, and maximizing tenant controllability of the built environment guided the project’s design.