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Gräbner and Hansen/ VolumeOne Win First Prize in Invest South/West Chicago

Friday, September 10, 2021

A mixed-use development designed by Lars Gräbner and Christina Hansen — members of Taubman College’s architecture faculty and co-founders of the Detroit–based studio VolumeOne — recently was named as one of four projects to be funded by the City of Chicago’s Invest South/West initiative.

Skydeck for the residence - Bronzeville Skydeck for the residence - Bronzeville

Invest South/West was conceived to spur development in disadvantaged communities. Gräbner and Hansen’s mixed-use development, “The Legacy District,” is a $19 million project that will be transformative and pivotal for the Bronzeville neighborhood, which is south of Chicago’s Loop and northwest of Hyde Park. 

“The project not only will create sought-after housing units but is even more effective for the economic and cultural development of the neighborhood,” said Gräbner and Hansen. Gräbner is an associate professor of practice in architecture; Hansen is a lecturer in architecture.

The Legacy District expresses cultural vitality, fosters pride, and creates a sense of place through a characteristic identity and quality open spaces. The form of the building is generated like a folded ribbon, derived from the scale of the historic lowrise commercial buildings around the site. While winding up to include scales and proportions of larger neighboring buildings, a sculptural façade toward a newly generated urban open space is formed. Within the form of the building, local art will be a valuable and integrative component of the design.

Public Plaza on the Corner of 47th and Vincennes - Bronzeville Chicago Public Plaza on the Corner of 47th and Vincennes - Bronzeville Chicago

Perceived as Bronzeville’s food, art, and culture corridor, the neighborhood offers a historically active and vibrant art and music scene, which is complemented by the integration of the proposed corner plaza, which offers spill-out space for the food market and the adjacent colonnade along 47th Street to activate the street and diversify spatial qualities within the corridor. The envisioned two-story flexible and adaptable culinary and entrepreneurial space is programmatically and spatially adaptable to neighborhood needs and changing businesses over time. It will serve as a catalyst for business development in conjunction with the YWCA, the support of food training and entrepreneurship, and opportunities for community events of different kinds.

The Rooftop Farm - Bronzeville The Rooftop Farm - Bronzeville

The proposal is designed to be family oriented, with two-thirds of the units being large, three-bedroom units and about one-third being two-bedroom units. Healthy living is promoted by integrating balconies for all units and every bedroom and living room. Many units include additional gardens and terraces. The 4,700 square-foot rooftop farm not only provides residents with proximal access to nature and a space for gardening but also opens opportunities for educational programming. Additionally, the rooftop farm is envisioned as a vital resource for food entrepreneurs in the building.

Watch a video presentation about The Legacy District.

From The Legacy District project:

Aerial view of 47th and Vincennes with Great Migration Plaza - Bronzeville

Culinary Entrepreneur Hall - Bronzeville

The public plaza and Culinary Entrepreneur Hall - Bronzeville

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