Urban Fold

New SRO Building Gets Starchitect Treatment

Architect Helmut Jahn's design for a new single-room occupancy building on the edge of Chicago's former Cabrini Green project gets high marks, but some criticize the cost of using high-end architects for affordable housing.

"Helmut Jahn is perhaps the last architect you'd expect to design the type of housing for single, poor adults that people once sneeringly called a 'flophouse.' He puts his trademark modernist stamp on condominium high-rises where the most expensive units are being hawked for $2.2 million."

"But on Thursday, a new single-room occupancy, or SRO, building that resembles a glistening, streamlined train will open at 1244 N. Clybourn Ave. on the fringes of the fast-disappearing Cabrini-Green housing development."

"Ironically, given Jahn's association with the energy-hogging Thompson Center, the $14 million, 96-unit building is touted as a model for saving energy, its roof sporting twirling wind turbines. As a bonus, its tiny units boast drop-dead views of the downtown skyline."

"But some veteran affordable-housing architects are expressing muted criticism that Jahn's new SRO building is too costly and thus takes a disproportionate share of precious funds that would otherwise go to build other, much-needed housing for the poor."

Thanks to ArchNewsNow

Full Story: Architect gives twist to affordable housing

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