The Fields residence is a strategic rehabilitation of a typical Chicago wood-frame two flat. Built for a limited budget, the focus of the design was to transform the exterior of the house as well as reconfigure the primary living area while enhancing energy performance.
The owner, an avid cook, wanted a kitchen that was open to the living/dining area, as well as commanding a view of the yard and the entry. By relocating the service uses, a single volume was created that houses the kitchen, living and dining areas, with the kitchen anchoring the North, while the relocated fireplace, clad in weathered steel, is a focal point to the South. The stairwell was reworked with an aluminum guardrail that has the effect of visually widening the space, and above the stairwell new electrically operated skylights create openings for stack ventilation. The floor is a natural cleft slate heated by radiant tubing that serves to reduce the heating load in the winter.
On the exterior, the strategy focused on performance. The building is wrapped in an air-barrier and the entire envelope was re-clad. A corten steel rain-screen covers most of the building and cedar siding is employed at the living level, which was the focus of the interior work. This serves to provide a warm material at the entry transitions as well as signal a change in program, the other floors being primarily bedrooms. Windows in the corten area were replaced in the existing openings and framed with cedar planter boxes that provide some shading as well as increase the visual scale of the apertures. At the living level, windows are located specific to their orientation, with the floor-to-ceiling openings at either end acting as book-ends for the cedar cladding.
The fencing and landscape were designed to reconfigure the site circulation and create zones of privacy in the transition from the sidewalk to the entry which was relocated to the side of the building.
Status: Completed 2006
Photo Credits: Michael Flack (Subset Photography)
Project Team: Casimir Kujawa
Scale: 3000 SQ FT
Location: Chicago, IL