Perimeter Architects were hired to renovate what seemed to be a typical wood-frame, single-family residence on the north side of Chicago, 30-feet from a CTA brown line platform. However the Yao Residence was anything but typical. After an examination of the home’s proximity to the noisy CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) Brown Line, Perimeter Architects decided to redefine the house in its entirety. The renovation dramatically cut noise penetration by completely wrapping the train-facing façade with a heavily insulated standing-seam metal panel.
This 3000 square-foot renovation, which was completed in August 2010, was recently recognized by the National AIA as a Small Project Award Winner for 2012. The dramatic transformation performed by Tuscany Builders of Chicago, was completed for a little under $500,000. A single window graces the standing seam façade, which led to the design of a large skylight that compensates for the lack of western windows. Skylights provide both natural light and ventilation for the house.
The roof of the Yao Residence was also designed to hide the mechanical rooftop units from sight. As the western wall reaches the roof, the metal panel siding seamlessly wraps the west roof pitch. A fully integrated scupper system was designed into the west roof pitch with a thermostatically controlled heat coil to thaw potential ice build up during Chicago’s harsh winters. This technique is a great resource for people looking to preserve their roofs from rough winter snow accumulation, which can lead to costly structural failure, leaks, or worse.
Another great design feature that Perimeter Architects integrated into this renovation is a sunken courtyard, which alters the view of passengers on the train platform. The sunken courtyard also provides private social space for the client.
Perimeter Architects’ response to the environmental site constraints (primarily the proximity to train noise) awed the judges of the National AIA Small Project Awards. On this same note, we are awed as well. Adaptations like this for homes in urban environments will ultimately help to provide greater density in our cities.