Morgan Street Live/Work

A couple lives and works in harmony in Chicago. The design of the buildings was driven by the desire to access the landscape on both the ground floor (office) and second floor (home). So the landscape was lifted by mounding (un-recyclable) debris and excavated soil from an on-site run-down grocery store that required immediate demolition. Then the residential “bar” was raised and rotated to access the crest of the prairie grass-planted recycled-materials mound, giving the residence a direct connection to the landscape. The second floor is a prefabricated structural bridge, which connects the mound to an extensive green-roof, which covers the office. The office “bar” is faced with a perforated Corten rain screen that allows for daylight and privacy, and provides a resilient material that can withstand the wear and tear of street life. Raw aluminum panels wrap the remainder of most facades - the panels fold cleanly around corners without additional detailing. The site is off the stormwater grid: rain filters through the roofs, flows onto and around the mound, and into a large gravel French-drain. Greenhouses operated by a neighborhood restaurant tap the drain.

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Office on ground floor, dwelling above

Dwelling connects green roof to mound

Joint between live and work units

Live unit truss was prefabricated

Bookcase behind structural prefab truss

Fireorb hovers above white epoxy concrete floor

Recycled material mound below dwelling unit

Door from dwelling unit to mound

Street facade

Facade made with Corten steel

Morgan Street Live/Work plans


Posted By
Interior Design
Landscape Design
  • Intrinsic Landscape
  • Matthew Messner


  • 2
  • Full Baths
  • 3
  • Style
  • Modern
  • Year
  • 2011
  • Square Feet
  • 3000
  • Press