Blair Kamin Reviews Vue53

"Now Chicago is joining the Jenga trend with the Vue53 apartment tower in Hyde Park by Chicago architects Valerio Dewalt Train Associates. At 13 stories, it is considerably shorter than its East Coast counterpart. It is also much more modest, offering tiny rental apartments and no multimillion-dollar penthouses. Nonetheless, this low-budget building makes a compelling case that Jenga architecture might amount to something more than an aesthetic fad.

Located at 1330 E. 53rd St., a few blocks north of the University of Chicago, the $75 million, 267-unit building is essentially a cross between a dormitory and an apartment building. Toronto-based Avison Young, a large commercial real estate firm, and Atlanta-based Peak Campus, which builds and manages student housing, developed it for the U. of C. The units (studios, one- and two-bedrooms) are chiefly aimed at graduate students and young faculty members. The floors and ceilings are exposed concrete, which may be OK with non-materialistic millennials but is sure to put off the crown molding crowd."

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PressJacob Goble