840 sqft High Rise Condo, Illinois

840 sqft High Rise Condo, Illinois (PDF) | 840 sqft High Rise Condo, Illinois (JPEG)

  • Terri

    John, Looks like I may be one of the first to jump into this one. As you pointed out, there’s just too much wasted space in this condo.

    I’ll focus on those annoying pillars.
    Were these pillars supposed to be attractive elements? Besides being impediments to furnishing or moving in these rooms, they must obstruct the supposedly great views.
    If the balcony had been designed to extend from those pillars, incorporating them into the exterior wall, the balcony would be more spacious while offering the same amount of usable space inside.

    You also asked what’s good about the space? If you want to feel like you’re getting away from other people, that long angled hallway will give you a sense of privacy, but what you’re escaping to is so encumbered and cramped that it’s not the spacious, relaxing space you might expect to find at the end of your journey.

  • Paul C

    What’s good about this home?
    It resides in a city renowned for its architecture.

    What’s bad about this home?
    It resides in a city renowned for its architecture.

  • Louis Pereira


    Much like you John, looking at something like this makes me SO angry. There’s a whole-lotta-marketing bull packed into this one for sure…and in Chicago of all places. i feel sorry for the homeowner who gets duped into buying this poor excuse for what is more than likely espoused as an ‘upscale urban residence’! I bet the marketing is accompanied by all the obligatory glossy brochures and slick websites.

    3. 45 degree messes it up entirely. Without it, it may have had a chance.
    2. It is full of pretension with every intent to impress.
    1. Misleading Marketing

  • Louis Pereira

    Right you are Paul!

  • Grace

    The worst thing is that cattle chute into the living space.

  • Louis Pereira

    ^HAHA…(sticking with the ‘bull’ theme)

  • Volker

    I agree on all already mentioned above. Those 45 degrees are really strange. The ratio of dark space to rooms with windows is bad. The distant you have to go to actually get to the main living space is way too long – and it might happen that you bump into this column. Why do you need so many toilets? It is waisted space – especially if you think about drawing your fellow guests an extra map of where to find the guests toilet (it might happen that they leave your appartment by accident)…

    As Paul already pointed out, Chicago is known for its beautiful architecture – just take your time and erase all those drywalls – just leave the columns in – and start from scratch, remembering the idea of modern architecture, like Mies v.d.Rohe came up with and try to get some light as deep into the space as possible…

    I do like the outdoor space. I know that the winter in Chicago is long and windy so why pay a lot of money for a space that I can only use a rather small part of the year? John as shown on your lesson about the rear garage and outdoor space, you can actually use this outdoor space to extend the living and bedroom by opening the glass doors – the border between inside and outside will vanish and make this odd condo perhaps a nice place.


  • Kathleen

    Ditto on all the comments above, but I’d also like to point out the amount of space dedicated to three bathrooms. Seems like complete overkill to have 2 full and a half bath in less than 1,000 SF. That space would have been much better utilized for living space. If you want to have both bedrooms with bathroom access, then perhaps a better idea would be to delete the half bath and have hallway and bedroom (dual) access to one of the full baths.

  • James Scott

    Hmmm, things that are nice about this condo?

    First, the long run between the door and the inner space helps as Terri mentioned. Less likely to hear other people going through the halls, doors slamming to the recycling/garbage chute or the sound of the elevator.

    Second, if they are lucky, they may have a terrific vista from their suite. Chicago has some amazing views and architecture and if lucky you may get something from that vantage point. On the other hand they may be overlooking the Chicago “L”. I think the “Red Line” runs 24 hours a day. And despite the west facing windows you can blind that area and keep the heat out if necessary.

    Thirdly, Chicago has some great Architecture and an amazing history. Oak Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio, can be found easily whether you drive or take the transit. Good times.

    Actually I’m concerned about no. 3, your home is supposed to be a retreat from day to day life, not the other way around.

    The dark side to this unit is the unbearable sense of claustrophobia the balcony invokes. I’d be surrounding this building with jumping bags and other safety equipment. The number of people that will regret their decision to buy this property may get out of hand.

    What they, the condo guys, should do is like single home developments. Sell off the lots to local home builders so that there is a variety of builders offering a variety of options. Let each builder work with a blank slate and create a floor plan suited to each buyer on an individual basis. I’m sure the logistics are no more difficult than any subdivision.

  • Jim Argeropoulos

    Just wondering how you’d get a couch into the living area?
    I’m with Kathleen on the amount of bathroom space.

  • Adam G

    I’d say the glazing is the single worst thing, because it’s forced an inefficient use of structure.

    The main column blocks easy flow through the living space, but assuming that it has a structural intent then to my mind the only reason it’s there is because the walls couldn’t take the load. If the building wasn’t glazed on all sides, you could push the structural elements out to the perimeter of the space and maybe get rid of the main column.

    It’s almost as if someone designed an office block and then said ‘couldn’t we adapt this for residential use?’

  • Tina

    James has a wonderful idea to allow multiple developers to create at least semi-customized space for buyers.

    That 45 degree cattle chute (love that visual) that dead-ends at that huge pillar is, to me, the single worst thing about this home. The second worst are the excessive bathrooms, and third is the complete disregard for directional orientation.

  • James Scott

    Regarding my thought about the use of multiple designers for one building, it seems akin to giving a group of individual architects the responsibility to design and furnish individual suites in a boutique hotel.

    Is it possible that this concept is in use somewhere already? Has anyone ever come across this in a condo development?

  • John Brown

    It seems that it was hard for anyone to come up with much good to say about this house except for its Chicago location and potential view.

    In terms of James’ idea of having multiple designers work on the units for a condo project – I was involved in something like this a number of years ago where an old building was converted into residential lofts. The units were sold as raw space and each new owner hired their own designer and contractor to finish their space. It seemed like a good idea at the time and some of the units were quite good. However, the costs were much higher than they should have been because there was no economy of scale. This pushed the sale value of the units out of the reach of the market.I think that having an arrangement at the level of the developer instead of the end client might help alleviate this problem. But there is also the larger question of whether the developer who hired the person who designed this unit could do any better hiring a whole group of designers.

    My sense is that hiring one good architect and then letting them design the project properly – without too much involvement from the marketing team – would probably do the trick. Louis observation that it is a marketing gimmick “full of pretension with the intent to impress” is spot on.

    In terms of the worst things I think we can whittle it down to the following:

    3. Too many bathrooms for such a small space (thanks Kathleen and Volker – BTW I really liked your diagram).

    2. The poorly placed columns that make the unit so difficult to furnish (thanks to Terri and Adam G).

    1. The cattle chute entry (thanks to Grace and Tina). That is
    a great analogy that I am going to use again!

  • Magnus

    Having lived in an 832 sq/ft apartment with one full bath, I can’t believe the amount of wasted space in this unit. We had two adults and one child in our place and it didn’t feel big. With three baths(!!!), the crazy angles and all the wasted space caused by the columns, this is going to be one cramped place to live.

    Who is going to live here? A couple? Why do you need to two master bedrooms w/ full baths unless you don’t get along. You have a nice guest room for visitors but no room to entertain.

    A single person. Three bathrooms!! One less bath would have allowed some sort of flex space for an office computer space but that is going to go into the guest room. That makes it much less of a lux guest room and make the bathroom totally redundant.

    A small family. Don’t even get me started…