“Affordable housing doesn’t have to be ugly”

That’s ‘ugly’ in terms of design and craftsmanship, not so much style, which I’m sure many of you may be partial to.

When nonprofit developer Mercy Housing completed its 96-unit SRO (single-room occupancy) building for very low income residents in the Near North neighborhood of Chicago, president Richard Banks reiterated the group’s vision that the building would be “a statement that affordable housing doesn’t have to be ugly or look like a warehouse.”

Essentially, if very low income (subsidized) housing can have this quality of design and craftsmanship (completely separate from style, which is wholly subjective), then market-rate housing for those that don’t need government assistance should have no excuses whatsoever of expecting any less.

The Schiff Residences opened in 2007 and not only are they affordable, but proudly display functional as well as beautiful green design features, including
– solar panels and rooftop wind turbine that generate about 15% of the building’s power;
– gray water system that filters water from sinks and showers to flush toilets;
– 10,000-gallon storage tank that collects rainwater for use on the landscaping;
– All energy-saving features save 22% on utility costs.

Check out some fun animated diagrams of its green design elements here.

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