August 2, 2017

Chicago Home by Dirk Denison Embraces Green Living

A Chicago family of four, looking to build a distinctive home, did their research to ensure it. The couple interviewed no less than a dozen architects nationwide before selecting fellow Windy City native Dirk Denison as the one who best understood the area and their needs.

After years of apartment living, the family yearned to be in a house. They wanted open space and plenty of “things growing,” with space for entertaining, work, and relaxation, plus guest rooms for visitors. To meet the brief, Denison devised overlapping ipe and stone volumes, their street facade punctuated with geometric windows reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut.

A view of the verdant landscaping, which includes multiple planted roofs. Photography by Michelle Litvin.

Full-length windows to the south embrace a wooded park while other fenestration overlooks the green roof atop the breakfast room. The house is green in other ways too: Its eco-conscious specifications, including geothermal wells, have earned it Chicago’s first residential Green Permit.

The family’s interests include scuba diving and underwater photography, so Denison included custom aquariums in the library. As for lighting, the choices are site-specific. A backlit stretched ceiling by Newmat in the library provides a blanket of diffused light while a four-story chandelier, designed in collaboration with Arik Levy, hangs in the stairwell, visually connecting the levels and making one heck of a statement.

Project Team: Principal Architect: Dirk Denison. Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti. MEP: Building Engineering Systems. Landscape Architect: Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects. Lighting Design: Filament 33. Aquarium Design: Bryan Schuetze. General Contractor: Tip Top Builders. 

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