Perkins+Will Selected to Design Chicago Project Combining Housing, Library

Innovative project on City’s North side among first in the country

The Chicago office of global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will has been selected to design a new combined community library and affordable housing building on the City’s North side that will be among the first of its kind in the country. Construction on the co-location project is expected to begin later this year after engagement with the project developer and meetings with community residents to help shape the final design.

Perkins+Will’s selection was announced by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), Chicago Public Library (CPL), and Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) following a competition that evaluated designs on quality and context, sustainability, and landscaping and design innovation. The firm was recognized for its longstanding involvement in Chicago and experience with designing projects that draw on community involvement. The City cited such Perkins+Will projects as the award-winning William Jones College Preparatory High School in the South Loop and the Rush University Medical Center and Campus Transformation project on the West Side, plus more than a dozen libraries, some with mixed-uses, in the United States and Canada.

“Our design for a public library-housing building maximizes the potential of the interaction between public and private uses,” says Ralph Johnson, Global Design Director for Perkins+Will. “The housing and library are enriched by each other’s presence, and the dialogue between community and privacy are inherent in the design to create a dynamic and urban, mixed-use building.”

The new facility, a major initiative of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will be located at Western Avenue and Pratt Boulevard in the West Ridge community. It will include the Northtown Branch of the Chicago Public Library and several floors of senior housing. CHA, CPL and DPD will host design workshops within each community. The new library will offer programs and spaces for area children and families as well as the new housing residents. Completion is targeted for winter of 2018.

The project is one of three announced by the City. The other two co-location buildings are in the Irving Park community on the Northwest side and on the Near West Side.

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