Drawing from refined principles of early Japanese architecture and scrollwork, this condominium in Chicago’s South Loop materialized a diagonal procession with an articulated building skin of cost-conscious materials. The unique intellectual process of design led to an architectural experience that balances a rich visual form with an active street level of incorporated green space.
“What I had realized to be the basic principle of Mies van der Rohe’s architecture I was astonished to find again in the Japanese dwelling houses of the 15th to 18th centuries: the conception of a design proceeding from the interior outwards, starting from a very small but important unit, the “tatami” mat — the raising of the building above the ground — the clear separation of “skin and skeleton” — the open plan without fixed walls — the relationship between interior and exterior in which the garden becomes part of the house and, resulting from these basic features of design, a clear, formal organization of the structure embodying a splendid sense of aesthetic balance.”
Due to the pattern of the applied skin, a mixed variety of units is created that, while uniquely individual in feel, benefit economically from mass repetition. This synergy between the interior and exterior produces a landmark for the South Loop area that provides housing for a variety of incomes.