Announcements 09.04.2019

Greg Tamborino’s Design Wins Affordable Housing Contest in Chicago

Tamborino's fresh approach to housing is inspired by community and sustainability
Adaptable House reinterprets middle-income family homes in Chicago
Neighborhood context, a welcoming entry from the street, and a meaningful connection to wellness are key features of Tamborino's winning housing design

Greg Tamborino, a senior project architect in our Chicago studio, is changing the face and future of affordable urban housing.

Adaptable House—Tamborino’s proposed design for an innovative middle-income family home—recently won the 2019 AIA Chicago Disruptive Design Competition. And now, two prototypes of the design are set to be brought to life in the city’s West Humboldt Park and Bronzeville neighborhoods in 2020, with construction led by Related Midwest.

The Disruptive Design Competition called for owner-occupied housing solutions that challenge current assumptions about where a typical, middle-income family can own a home in Chicago. With conversations about affordable housing in the city reaching a fever pitch, questions persist about what “affordable” actually means; about who typically lives in housing deemed “affordable”; and how cities can broaden access to housing.

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Honoring an the American Dream

Adaptable House reflects the spirit of an individualized homeowner who adapts to the challenges of life in pursuit of personal well-being. It’s a nod to Chicago’s famous bungalows, which exploded in popularity with the growth of the middle class in the early 20th century, and which have since come to represent the American Dream, including its promise of home ownership and stability for working families.

Adaptable House allows its occupants to invest in a home and live there through many stages of life. For example, it can first function as a two-flat, where a young couple could live on the ground floor and rent out the top floor for additional income. As the family grows, the house could become a two-story single-family home. ­When children grow and move out, parents can remain and age in place. The home is designed for future ADA accessibility, too, so the occupants can stay in their home even as their physical needs change.

“Homeowners all want the same things: comfortable, bright spaces connected to the outdoors, and value. I’m applying those same principles to affordable housing.”
—Greg Tamborino

Adaptable House is designed to integrate seamlessly into a quiet residential neighborhood. The home is modest and friendly, with front porches and yards that invite the neighbors to stop by and say hello. Large windows let in plenty of daylight and offer views to the greenery in the front and backyards, as well as to the surrounding neighborhood.

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