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MAYOR EMANUEL ANNOUNCES INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR INNOVATIVE NORTHTOWN APARTMENTS AND PUBLIC LIBRARY BRANCH PROJECT

Project to Co-Locate Affordable Housing with New Chicago Public Library Branch Selected as Finalist for World Architecture Festival Award

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the Northtown Apartments and Chicago Public Library Branch has been selected as a finalist for an international design award from the World Architecture Festival. The honor demonstrates the City of Chicago’s innovative approach to “co-located” public buildings is resonating worldwide.

“By uniting our neighborhood libraries with quality housing that is affordable and accessible, we are combining our strengths to build a powerful community anchor,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This recognition demonstrates Chicago is an international leader in breaking molds to bring communities together.”

The Northtown Apartments and Chicago Public Library Branch in West Ridge was designed by the Chicago office of global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will as part of a 2017 City of Chicago design competition to combine libraries and affordable housing at three different sites. The competition, which attracted 32 entries, was part of Mayor Emanuel’s vision to bring world-class architecture to Chicago neighborhoods and break from the standard, cookie-cutter designs associated with many public buildings.

The Northtown project is a finalist in the “Civic-Future” award category at the World Architecture Festival, the world’s largest inclusive and interactive global architectural awards program. Perkins+Will architects will present the project to a jury and audience in Amsterdam this fall. Winners will be announced Nov. 30.

“Our design for a public library-housing building maximizes the potential of the interaction between public and private uses,” Ralph Johnson, global design director for Perkins+Will said. “The housing and library are enriched by each other’s presence, and the dialogue between community and privacy are inherent in the design to create a dynamic and urban, mixed-use building.”

Featuring a contemporary, concrete and glass exterior with glazed aluminum finishes, the four-story Northtown building includes a 16,000-square-foot Chicago Public Library (CPL) branch and community space on the ground floor and 44 senior apartments above, including 30 for Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) residents and 14 affordable units. The project developer is Evergreen Real Estate Group.

“CHA is excited that this development is being recognized because it validates our commitment to providing high-quality buildings for seniors and the communities of Chicago,” CHA CEO Eugene E. Jones, Jr. said.

“It is fitting that this beautiful, state-of-the-art project receives international recognition,” CPL Commissioner Brian Bannon said. “This unique combination of a public library, affordable housing and strong civic architecture will strengthen the community for years to come.”

The two other projects created through the initiative include the SOM-designed Taylor Street Apartments and Roosevelt Branch Library at 1342 W. Taylor St., and the John Ronan Architects-designed Independence Apartments and Branch Library at 4022 N. Elston Ave. All three projects broke ground in January and are expected to open this winter.

The new library facilities will offer programs and spaces for both CHA and neighborhood children and families. Each branch will include a built-out early childhood active learning space. School-aged children will have access to the Library’s Teacher in the Library program which offers free one-on-one homework assistance. Teens will have access to technology, resources, and classes that inspire exploration, creativity and learning through the YOUmedia program.