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1830 W. Ellen Street, Chicago IL.

This project is a prime example of how thorough understanding and management of the governing ordinances and codes can transform a seemingly useless lot into a profitable enterprise for the developer and an asset to the neighborhood. The lot for this  two unit condominium development  is a small trapezoid of 1802 sq. ft and is bounded on one side by Ellen Street and on two others by an alley. The biggest obstacle to development related to the rear lot line. The required rear yard is determined from the lot line most parallel to the front lot line, which in this case was the rear  alley side. The existing yard divided the site diagonally, which, when combined with the required side and front yards, reduced the buildable lot area to 60 sq. ft.

Fortunately, the client also owned the adjacent property. We advised him to combine the northernmost corner of the trapezoidal lot with his adjacent property, and have the two lots re-recorded. This resulted in a rear lot line that was fully parallel to the front lot line. A 10% reduction to the minimum lot area per unit restriction and reductions to the usual yard requirements were then sought and granted  from the zoning administrator, resulting in a buildable footprint of 1366  sq. ft.

The building features two  1200 sq. ft. duplexed units with exterior decks and balconies serving every primary room in each unit. The unit plans are arranged diagonally on the site, thus permitting all main rooms to have at least two primary views. This diagonal relationship is also expressed in the split-level floor relationships within the units, and in the exterior massing. The full masonry front portion features a regular, unbroken pattern of tall windows, and its continuous parapet conceals a roof deck serving the master bedroom across the full width of the building. The rear mass is taller and narrower than the front, and is clad in stucco. A vertical string of small windows signal the recessed front entry and common stair. From the southwest corner, the two-story porch and volume of the internal unit stairs reinforce the diagonal massing.

 
 
 
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