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2020 Award Winners

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Multifamily

Adaptive Reuse, Multifamily

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Motley School Apartments

Silver

Chicago, Illinois

Architect/Designer | Pappageorge Haymes Partners

Builder | Svigos Development Inc.

Developer | Svigos Asset Management

Photographer | Pappageorge Haymes Partners

Built in 1884, the former John Motley Elementary School is a historic four-story, brick-and-wood building; its former classrooms, offices, and gymnasium have been converted to 34 one- and two-bedroom apartments. Organized along a large central hall, the dwellings feature 13-ft. ceilings, oversized windows that maximize natural light, and traditional millwork. These old-school aesthetics are further reinforced by original wood panel doors, moldings, and transom windows lining the hallways.

Vintage classroom accessories, such as chalkboards and refurbished filing cabinets, function as useful everyday objects on kitchen walls, living spaces, and at entryways. The functionality of contemporary mechanical and electrical systems, plumbing, and kitchen appliances join these classic elements, fusing antique charm with modern convenience. The conversion of the landmark building helped stabilized a vintage Chicago neighborhood, repurposing a closed public school building at the doorstep of Chicago’s burgeoning central business district. The unique apartments retain many of their former classroom finishes and features, celebrating the city’s contributions in the development of the modern school architecture and its former role as a Chicago public school.

From the Judges
The judges praised the strong interior transformation. “The top deck is great. Nicely done.”

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