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Conservatory Apartments, Interfaith Housing Development Corp.
Chicago, IL
Sustainable. Affordable.
Taking cues from nature and the neighborhood.
A first of its kind design challenge in Chicago
Situated just north of the landmark Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, the Conservatory Apartments is poised to demonstrate that the Passive House Certification for large, affordable, multi-family housing projects is within reach in this Midwestern cool-humid climate (ASHRAE zone 5a). The design team utilized the biophilic design strategy of simulating natural forms through specified light fixtures and patterned glass. The incorporation of a low maintenance moss wall in the building lobby is both a way of bringing nature inside as well as a nod to the namesake conservatory a block away. Through a biophilic design approach, the Conservatory Apartments will provide 43 units to an underserved population and tell a story about nature that will tie it to its place and time.

The sustainability goals for the project are twofold – first, the client is committed to achieving Passive House Certification. Once successfully constructed, Conservatory Apartments will be the first Passive House Certified affordable project at scale for the City of Chicago. Second, the project has also been selected to be a participant in the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Pilot Program for affordable housing. The HED team will study how to maximize the number of LBC imperatives that can be achieved with a goal of CORE Certification.
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Results
The building is being designed to meet Passive House Standards and achieve Passive House certification through the Passive House Institute of the United States (PHIUS). It will be the largest multi-family building in Chicago to meet this standard.
The design team utilized the biophilic design strategy of simulating natural forms, through the light fixtures specified and through patterned glass.
The incorporation of a low maintenance moss wall in the building lobby is both a way of bringing nature inside but also a nod to the namesake conservatory a block away.
The tight well insulated building envelope consists of walls with an R value of 47 and the roof will be R60 and the foundation and slab on grade will be R20.
The project will comply with the ComEd energy efficient guidelines and will thus have Energy Star appliances and LED lighting.
The building is designed to accommodate a 14 kW photovoltaic system
Through the specification of water saving plumbing fixtures, indoor water use will be reduced by 25%.
The site meets the transit served zoning definition of being within 1,320 feet of the Conservatory stop on the green line.
Project Data
Conservatory Apartments 2020-06778-000
Interfaith Housing Development Corp.
Chicago, Illinois
PROJECT SCOPE
New Construction
HED ROLE
Design Architect, Structural Engineering, Landscape Architecture
RSF/GSF
24,950
CONSTRUCTION COST
$10.8 Million
SUSTAINABILITY LEVEL
    Passive House Certification
    Living Building Challenge CORE
Project Team
  • Susan King
    FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, LFA
    Principal
    Market Sector Leadership
  • Victor Rivera
    AIA
    Architecture
  • Scott Whitebone
    AIA
    Associate Principal
    Architecture Leader
  • Daniel Jaconetti
    AIA, LEED AP
    Associate
    National Sustainable Design Leader
  • Jim Corsiglia
    PE, SE, LEED AP
    Principal
    Structural Engineering Leader
Taking cues from nature and the neighborhood.
Conservatory Apartments, Interfaith Housing Development Corp.
Chicago, IL
PROJECT DATA
PROJECT TEAM
Sustainable. Affordable.