The residence is inserted into the ruins of an early 20th century factory of which only the common brick walls remain. The original house was designed and constructed in 2003 for a single resident as a single-room home, or an “absolute” environment. The addition was commissioned in 2013 and completed in 2014 when the client married and needed more space.
The street facade is defined by two galvanized metal scissor doors each 24’ across and 12’ high. The one on the left opens to reveal the garage. The one on the right opens to let the space of a garden flow out to the street. Between these two doors is a narrow gate. The enclosure of the house is a steel frame suspended from the surrounding masonry walls and supported in the center by a grid of columns 16’ on center.
The addition, maintains this material relationship with a metal clad exterior. The interior is anchored on the first floor by a renovated bath and dressing room in one corner and the kitchen in the other. A stair was inserted at the street side of the residence leading up to a private sleeping room and study. The old technology of the brick masonry stands in sharp contrast to the tension expressed in the steel and glass. The Doblin House was awarded and AIA Chicago Building Honor Award.
Photography © Karant+Associates, Barbara Karant & © Steve Hall – Hedrich Blessing