Chicago Architecture Center hosting missing middle infill housing design competition

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is hosting an exhibition on reimagined housing typologies by 42 local and national architecture firms that have advanced to Phase 2 of the ‘Come Home’ initiative.

Come Home is a design competition that supports “missing middle density” infill housing in the Auburn Gresham, Bronzeville, East Garfield Park, Englewood, Humboldt Park and Woodlawn.

The exhibition will be on display at the Chicago Architecture Center until Mar. 26.

“Chicago is at the forefront of housing design for 21st century living,” said Eleanor Esser Gorski, CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center. “Whether it’s the return to multigenerational housing or the rise of the gig economy and micro mobility, the way people live has evolved—and housing must evolve with it.

“The CAC is proud to be part of an initiative that calls for fresh, innovative ideas and partners with the community to tell us what they would want to ‘come home to’ in their neighborhood.”

“Missing middle density” housing is defined in some circumstances as vacant lot gaps that are missing density in residential blocks like other parts of an urban environment. It can also refer to the middle class, which has been squeezed out of some parts of the city.

The competition launched with a request for qualifications (RFQ) in early December to local and national firms, inviting them to submit their design solutions across four divisions/housing types, including single-family homes, 2- and 3-flats, rowhouses and 6-flats. In Phase 2, a shortlist of 42 local and national firms out of 74 submitted have been invited to present their work to a jury of industry leaders who will assess the submissions based on, design excellence, buildability, and replicability.

A feedback portal invites input on submissions viewed online or in person. The portal will remain open ahead of Phase 3 which includes finalists selected by the expert jury and will be published in a pattern book this summer to serve as a resource to city planners and emerging developers by providing a snapshot into innovative housing design.

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