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Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence, 3rd Place

February 1, 2007

Wentworth Commons is built to inspire and anchor a transformation in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood. A supportive housing facility for 51 at-risk and/or formerly homeless families and individuals, the building, developed by Mercy Housing Lakefront, rises up from surrounding vacant lots, welcoming future development and setting a standard for sustainable design.

Varied earth tones and numerous well lit and well scaled windows help to create an inviting ambience at street level and the appearance of not only one, but several separate buildings. The first level includes offices for case managers and other social spaces adaptive to employment training, after-school activities for children, and other community events. The residential spaces on three upper floors also encourage a sense of community among the residents by providing common areas and by mixing studio and family apartments.

Not only an excellent design for supportive housing, Wentworth Commons may also become one of the first residential developments in Chicago to achieve Leadership in Environmentally Efficient Design (LEED) certification. Architect Susan King, AIA, LEED AP, of Harley Ellis Devereaux incorporated numerous green, sustainable features into the design, including: photovoltaic cells on the roof which generate energy for the building, native plantings and a bioswale to reduce stormwater runoff, healthy, durable and local materials, and energy-efficient heating and cooling with high efficiency boilers, a heat recovery system, and super insulation.

For designing an innovative, sustainable building that will become the cornerstone of community renewal, Harley Ellis Devereaux is the third place winner of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design.

TAGS: affordable housing,