747 N. CLARK

A collaboration with Miller Hull Partnership


Association of Licensed Architects: 2016 Don Erickson Presidential Award


AISC Modern Steel Construction: August 2016

Architectural Record: October 2015

747 N Clark is a 6-unit luxury condominium building in the River North area of Chicago. It is a seven-story structure which fills a snug midblock site only 40 feet wide by 100 feet deep. The project had a challenging start: begun and then abandoned by another developer during the recession, it was nothing but a derelict shell when purchased by our client. The shell was riddled with permit violations, original layouts were ill-thought, and the exterior concept was an awkward neo-traditional design with Georgian window proportions. All new work had to be accomplished under tight budget constraints.

A completely fresh approach was taken. The shell was stripped to raw structure, and after some structural remediation, the elevator and stair shafts were reconfigured to accommodate a more refined private elevator vestibule at each full-floor unit. The new floor plans nearly eliminated corridors, and gave the units an unobstructed view through the whole 100-foot length of the building. Full height sliding doors separate bedrooms from living spaces without obstructing the vista or breaking up the west wall of glass. 

Given the requirement of blank lot-line walls, the Clark street façade provided an opportunity to contrast the building’s solid mass. This was achieved with an austere Mies-inspired composition of window walls framed by a steel grid, that extends into three dimensions with balconies and a seventh-floor pergola. Steel channels clad the ends of the party walls, whose masonry was painted in a restrained, elegant grey as a backdrop to the new glass and steel. A screen of perforated steel masks the ground floor garage, and hot-rolled steel plate defines the entry. This is contrasted with the texture of a charred-oak front door, and a splash of bright yellow enamel at the lobby.