As a way of bringing the price per unit down, Bickerdike made use of economies of scale by building 8 apartment buildings rather than just one. The buildings range from 6 to 27 units each and area all a variation on the theme of the same modular facade. Each building is composed of 8″ thick precast concrete walls with a brick pattern, engineered wood trusses, and colorful modern window bays. Only 2 types of windows are used throughout the project. 6 of the 8 buildings are only three stories tall, while the last two are 4 stories with elevators.
Each building went through the City of Chicago Green Permit process, ensuring that many green strategies are apart of the entire development. These strategies include an energy efficient envelope, low VOC finishes and paints, bamboo and PVC free flooring, energy efficient lighting, Energy Star appliances, low flow fixtures, insulated hot and cold water pipes, permeable paving, recycling programs and much more.
Building 7, the largest building, was designed for LEED certification and includes a number of other strategies beyond what the others were doing. This building makes use of solar thermal hot water heating for domestic hot water, native and drought tolerant landscaping, an energy recovery system, a geothermal HVAC system, and a green roof. Obviously it would have been great if all 8 of the buildings could have gone through LEED certification, but then again, they probably would have cost too much to turn into affordable housing.
Images ©Andreas Larsson/Landon Bone Baker
A good start, they built it small and made sure they didn't build it bunched up as one massive project. Chicago has good experience with projects such as the infamous Cabrini-Green built from the 40's thru 60's. Over the years, gang violence and neglect created terrible conditions for the residents, and the name "Cabrini–Green" became synonymous with the problems associated with public housing and became a slang term regarding similar buildings.
airLab, Landon Bone Baker's 2011 summer internship program, is currently measuring and comparing air quality with their hand-built, newly-installed sensors, located inside and outside of the LEED certified building at Rosa Parks Apartments. Check out their blog: http://airlab.landonbonebaker.com/