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Ardmore House / Kwong Von Glinow

Ardmore House / Kwong Von Glinow

For this house bordering an alleyway on a traditional Chicago lot, Kwong Von Glinow flips the traditional residential section, arraying bedrooms on the first floor and living spaces on the second. This approach supports contemporary ways of living, emphasizing communal areas, interconnectivity, and flexible live-work spaces that receive ample natural light and engage the surrounding urban context.

ph: James Florio Photography

A curved double-height interior courtyard atrium runs lengthwise from front to back doors, creating a vertical connection between the common areas on the first and second floors.  Defined by a large picture window and a curving wall that leads to each of the bedrooms, the courtyard offers an informal multi-purpose area where residents can relax and children can play.   

The design of the home calibrates the relationship between privacy and exposure in this urban site.  Off of the courtyard’s inner curved wall lie all of the home’s bedrooms, pushed away from the alleyway towards the neighboring lot.  The two bedrooms nearer the front of the house have windows that look toward the neighbor’s Chicago brick wall, providing privacy from view of the street or neighbor. The primary bedroom suite is located at the back of the home, overlooking a private garden between the home and the adjacent garage.

ph: James Florio Photography

A stair tucked behind the courtyard’s curving wall leads to the open plan second floor, organized by four trusses above that hold the Chicago balloon frame home together.  These trusses designate five areas set around the curve of the balustrade: the kitchen, the island, the dining room, the powder room, and the living room. 

Throughout, a restrained colors and materials palette – white walls and white oak wood floors, trusses and furnishing – draws attention to the qualities of the spaces themselves. All of the shared and public spaces on the second floor are oriented towards a 56-foot-long ribbon window that spans the length of the interior courtyard and floods the home with natural light, offering panoramic views that capture the fullness of the surrounding neighborhood: beautiful century-old trees, the back balconies and fire-escapes of neighboring buildings, and street lamps with their meandering cabling.   

 

The exterior of the home engages the neighborhood’s traditional vernacular style while reflecting the organization of the interior spaces. The design shifts the facade hierarchy from the street to the alleyway, the most urban of the contexts. The street-facing facade has a row of half-height ribbon windows along the second floor and only a single opaque door on the first level, maintaining privacy for the front bedroom. On the alleyway side, floor-to-ceiling windows on the second floor and a large picture window facing out to the alleyway from the interior courtyard open the home’s interior to the urban surroundings.   

ph: James Florio Photography

The exterior materials approach emphasizes the sectional flip and lends visual rhythm to the monolithic building. The house sits atop a concrete base with a dual-color Accoya wood rain screen system. The bottom half of the first level is clad in grey wood, while black wood lines the top half of the first level and all of the second.

DATE: 2020 / LOCATION: Chicago, United States / AREA: 3,100 square feet (built) / PROGRAM: Single Family Home – New Construction / STATUS: built / DESIGN: Kwong Von Glinow / CONSTRUCTION: Oslo Builders / CONSULTANTS: Goodfriend Magruder Structures (Structural Engineer) / PHOTOS: James Florio Photography

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