Ore Wall City








Design Team:

Public commission

480 live/work units, art center, and workshops

South Chicago

Chicago, IL


AIA and Houzz Future of Architecture Recognition


Jennifer Wichtowski

The massing of the building is composed of three distinct volumes, which are tied to the way residents transition through the program.  In the first stage (horizontal volume), residents live in dormitories and are taught basic life skills and education.  In the second stage (the bridge), residents gain job skills, begin working, and learn to live as part of society.  In the final stage (the tower), residents live in independent apartments, pay rent, and work outside of the program in preparation for their reentry into society.

Because the residents are coming from a variety of destructive backgrounds (homelessness, addiction, gang activity, crime, etc.), a certain degree of control is necessary.  The building is designed to achieve a high level of social interaction between the residents as well as with the public, which also fosters 'good behavior.'  This further contributes to the residents' reintegration by fostering a sense of inclusion and responsibility.  In addition, the facades are conceived with three levels of transparency - transparent, semi-transparent, and opaque.  These correspond to the various levels of privacy required for each function within the building, creating a sort of 'urban panopticon.'  The transparency allows the building to interact with the public spaces around it, further strengthening the connection between these two realms.