Independence Library & Apartments

John Ronan Architects

Architects: John Ronan Architects
Location: Chicago, USA
Area: 5.575 m2
Year: 2019
Photography: James Florio

This hybrid library/affordable housing project in Chicago combines a 16,000-square-foot branch library with a 44-unit affordable apartment complex for seniors. The two-story library element is slid forward on the site to the street to foreground its public nature, while the residential block, which hovers above, is set back from the street.

The two-story library supports reading and learning areas for all age groups, as well as a large community multi-purpose room which supports public lectures, gatherings and events. The second floor of the library extends out over the covered parking to form a park-like terrace space serving as an outdoor amenity space for residents as well as occasional library use.

All apartments feature brightly colored balconies recessed into the façade that speak to individuality amidst the collective, enabling residents to identify their house from the street in a conscious attempt to transcend the brutal pragmatism that has characterized Chicago’s past efforts in this area.

Sustainable design elements include a green roof, storm water management, daylighting and passive ventilation.