Congratulations to the team at Chicago-based Landon Bone Baker Architects on their recent 2016 AIA/HUD Secretary’s Award!

The ARCHICAD firm has been recognized for their work on the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (DA+HC) in the “Creating Community Connection” category. This vacant housing project has become an important arts and culture hub in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. 

DA+HC represents what is possible when public, private and non-profit sectors work together to give new life to an area of the city that had been ignored.The vacant 1980s Chicago Housing Authority project is now a vital arts and culture hub in the city’s Grand Crossing neighborhood. Existing abandoned buildings became the framework for a community-focused and artist-led creative incubator.

From the AIA about their award (All award recipients are featured here Landon Bone Baker can be seen on page 60-61):

The core of the project is the rehabilitation of 32 of the original 36 housing authority two- and three-bedroom townhomes. In a neighborhood with an unemployment rate of 18 percent and 25 percent of the population below the poverty line, DA+HC provides much-needed mixed income housing. Extensive damage to the townhomes’ handsome brick facades were repaired and they now accentuate the recessed doorways and chamfered corners featured throughout. Inside, renovations focused on Energy Star standards and the homes boast energy-efficient windows, doors, lighting, and appliances. Original building materials were reused when possible and stormwater is stored on site through green roofs, permeable pavers, and rain gardens.

A glass-walled 2,200-square-foot arts center and landscaped courtyard, envisioned as a space that is open and available to anyone, serves as a centerpiece for the community and provides an array of programming. From fine arts to music and dance, the center’s programs focus on providing free arts education to children and youth in the South Side of Chicago. Additionally, residents gather weekly to discuss strategies to continue to improve their neighborhood and the center provides space for collaboration with nearby cultural organizations. The center’s façade and clerestory flood the interior with light, helping to promote the programs and exhibitions and accessibility to new audiences.

To facilitate the dialogue between artists and residents, DA+HC is the first project in the nation to provide residencies for artists in public housing. A committee of neighbors has a hand in reviewing portfolios and selecting artists. While living on site, artists volunteer to help develop programming and further the revitalization of one of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods through their practice and community engagement.


You can read more about the project and the award on the Landon Bone Baker blog

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