We drove by the Margo and Harold Schiff Residencies yesterday and were wowed by the sleek new building in the rapidly changing Cabrini Green neighborhood. The complex (also known as the Near North Apartments), was developed by non-profit group Mercy Housing Lakefront and designed by Helmut Jahn. The building provides both affordable housing and environmental benefits to neighborhood residents. And at an average of 300 square feet, the apartments are small space living with a lot of style.
Half of the units are reserved for low-income tenants, while the other half go to disabled and homeless residents. Green features include rooftop wind turbines, solar panels, and a gray water system that recycles water from showers and sinks back into the toilet system.
Buildings like the Near North Apartments have been a long time coming for some public housing residents, who have been displaced by the Chicago Housing Authority's controversial Plan for Transformation. Not only is the building green and beautiful, it's also earned some accolades including Met Home's 2007 Design 100 List and a citation for merit from the AIA.