Come Home: Missing Middle Infill Housing

March 16, 2023

Biophilic DesignEco DesignFrom the FieldGreen ArchitecturePassive House Architecture

TBDA was one of 42 firms (13 from Chicago) to participate in the Come Home competition, an initiative of the Invest South/West program.

The objective was to propose housing solutions for empty lots in Chicago, as a way of revitalizing historically disinvested neighborhoods. We teamed up with Blacks In Green and Inherent Homes to propose a bigger picture solution: given the empty lots, greenways cut the long blocks in half, creating walking paths, community gardens, and gathering and play spaces. Let’s not just put buildings back in and perpetuate the old pattern if we can have something better!

Then the building–of course it’s a Phius building, meeting Architecture 2030 targets, with outdoor spaces for all units, fully accessible, with a mix of units from 1-br to 4-br to accommodate¬†different ages and family structures. Plantings are optimized via vertical gardens, and the roof features a BioVoltaic system. Another important feature is the community space–in these larger (6-unit) buildings connected by greenways, a network of services and functions can exist–from day care to maker spaces to places to take or teach classes, a new kind of social resiliency can grow. Add to this a community microgrid (solar powered) and alley geothermal for new buildings and simplified decarbonization, and we have a system-level resiliency solution! Kind of like scattered-site co-housing with clean energy and more greenspaces.

We’re honored to be part of this program and hope it lives beyond the Lightfoot administration. And we’re profoundly grateful to Blacks In Green for their vision and activism, and to Inherent Homes for making modular¬†prefab work in Chicago, addressing workforce, quality, and affordability.