Drawing from its rich historical context, District House is a bold and affirmative step into the future for the Village of Oak Park.
John Lynch, Oak Park Economic Development Corporation
Client Ranquist Development
The latest in a series of projects with Ranquist Development is the District House, a 75,000-square foot mixed-use building with 28 three bedroom condominium homes, ground floor parking and 4500 square feet of commercial space. The design of the District House emerged from a close study of the Oak Park neighborhood and its architectural heritage. Oak Park was home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, studio and many early residential projects and a few blocks from Unity Temple. It was here that Wright developed the Prairie School of Architecture which placed a strong emphasis on the horizontal, evoking the broad plains of the American Midwest.
The District House is broken down into a series of crystalline lanterns offset by more solid masonry cores. The lanterns house the shared family spaces in each unit—the kitchen, dining and living areas—while the masonry cores house the private spaces—the bedrooms, baths, support and service spaces. Deep floor overhangs wrap the lanterns providing weather protection for the floor-to-ceiling window walls and significantly reducing solar heat gain in summer months. The lanterns mark the corners of the building and draw special emphasis to the intersection of Lake and Euclid, achieving the ‘eastern gateway’ goal called for in the Lake Street Master Plan. The ground floor commercial spaces are deeply recessed below the overhanging floor above providing ample shelter for commercial uses that activate the sidewalk and define a new urban outdoor space marking the gateway to Lake Street commercial district.
The design effort has been a collaboration with Northworks Architects and Planners based in Chicago.