Eric Young Smith
“The goal is to create cohesion, to build relationships where there are none currently, to try and create a more vibrant and revitalized Near North community.”
These were the words of a community leader speaking of his hopes for the buildings that would replace the often maligned, but by many loved, Cabrini-Green development. The words became the mandate that inspired Landon Bone Baker Architects as they designed Terrace 459, a 106-unit development at the corners of Division and Cleveland Street, which serves as a gateway to the entire 800-unit Parkside development that is replacing the former Cabrini-Green.
A mixed income project, as are all new developments that are replacing the high-rises that characterized and isolated public housing for decades, Terrace 459 enhances both the neighborhood and tenant experience through the design of a 9-story tower, a 3-story mid-rise and 7 townhomes tied together with a landscaped common courtyard.
To overcome the challenge of a tight budget, Landon Bone Baker relied on innovative building techniques and materials that provide durability and beauty. The design team developed a precast floor and wall system that delivers structural rigidity, a tight envelope and cost-effective fabrication and assembly, avoiding the monotony of pre-cast construction by employing
checkered panelization and the integration of bright colors into balconies and other exterior wall elements. Landon Bone Baker applied the same principles to individual apartments, which while varying in size, are all constructed with high quality, durable materials, feature energy efficient lighting, heating and appliances, and provide abundant natural light.
Respectful of importance of fostering integration with the surrounding neighborhood, Terrace 459, encourages enlivened street activity through its use of attractive landscaping, inviting windows and public space surrounding the Division Street entrance.
The architects attribute much of the success of their design to the structure of planning and ownership. Design research by the Landon Bone Baker’s summer internship program – cityLab – informed early stages of the planning and design by engaging directly with the community to understand their needs and dreams, and in a truly unique structure, former Cabrini- Green tenants have an ownership stake in the development.
Perhaps no better testament to the success of the development could be had than the words of Alderman Walter Burnett, who grew up in the former Cabrini-Green. “These apartments offer all the amenities you have in a market rate building for folks of all incomes. This is changing the culture of expectations.”