Hem House by Future Firm enriches Chicago housing


Hem House offers a new housing solution in Chicago

Hem House by Future Firm is a new housing solution for Chicago, created for the ‘missing link’ market by the city’s real estate specialists, Hem Development

Hem House’s long, dark form cuts a minimalist, if somewhat utilitarian, silhouette in its sleepy residential street in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. Aiming to fill a gap in the Chicago real estate market, this isn’t just a fine example of contemporary architecture in the city; it’s also an affordable residential model for the Midwestern city and beyond. Craig Reschke, co-director of Chicago architecture studio Future Firm, and local real estate developer Joseph Root have joined forces to create Hem Development, a company aimed at filling a very specific gap in the Chicago housing market – with a strong design angle to boot.

“While Hem House does not compete with affordable subsidized housing in the neighborhood, the project is helping to fill the ‘missing link’ of housing options,” the team explains. Created with a price tag that resonates with this part of the market, the project plays a key role in diversifying the housing landscape. On top of that, Hem House is built on land purchased from the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA), an organization that uses vacant land in underserved areas of Chicago, doubling the effectiveness of the concept.

A minimalist model for Chicago housing

“While there is a very vibrant arts and culture scene in Chicago, there isn’t a lot of bespoke contemporary architecture, and what exists in the residential area is almost exclusively very upscale – so we hope to help. to change that narrative, ”says Future Corporate Co-Director Ann Lui. “We wanted to create a house using some strategic construction and design ideas to keep costs down, such as an idea for vacant Chicago residential lots,” Reschke adds.

The house is made up of two volumes stacked one on top of the other – a long, low one, which constitutes the ground floor, and a higher one which extends to form the first floor. Both are coated with a durable black metal coating on the outside.

The interior contrasts with the dark exterior skin, using crisp white surfaces and natural wood. A clean and minimalist aesthetic emphasizes light and spatial generosity, directing the views towards the garden. Everything has been designed with functionality in mind, while the 150 square foot mezzanine containing a double bedroom and bathroom adds architectural interest.

Considering the size of the plot, Hem House can easily be replicated, creating many future possibilities for this design and Chicago housing. “Because Chicago’s residential lots are all the same size, it’s easy for people to repeat plans and end up with underwhelming architecture. We would like to be a trend in a different direction, ”concludes Him. §


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