John Ronan Architects LLC and Evergreen Real Estate Group have won a Chicago Neighborhood Development Award for Independence Library and Apartments. The firms won first place in The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design in the 26th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), organized by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago.
Completed last year, Independence Library and Apartments, a six-story mixed-use development at 4022 N. Elston Avenue in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood, features 44 units of affordable rental housing for seniors atop a new public library branch. The project was designed by John Ronan Architects and developed by Evergreen Real Estate Group, in partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Public Library. It is one of two such projects Evergreen has developed with the city.
Ronan’s design places the library on the lower two levels of the building, with a façade consisting of gray concrete panels and expanses of glass that allow for abundant natural light. The residential portion of the building, which is set back from the library, features a white corrugated aluminum exterior, accented by recessed balconies in an array of colors. The library houses numerous flex spaces that can accommodate meetings or independent study, while a graduated seating staircase seamlessly connects the first and second floors. Residents of the apartments also enjoy their own private fitness room and outdoor terrace.
Established in 1995, the CNDA recognize the essential role that both non-profit and for-profit developers play in building communities in Chicago-area neighborhoods. The awards highlight outstanding achievement in neighborhood real estate development and community building, especially the achievements of community development corporations, other community-based organizations and for-profit developers working to build healthier neighborhoods in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Partners involved in the project included the city of Chicago, Chicago Community Loan Fund, Chicago Department of Housing, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Public Library, CIBC, City Real Estate Advisors, Clocktower Tax Credits LLC, ComEd Energy Efficiency Program, Fifth Third Bank, LISC Chicago, North River Commission and TCF Bank.