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Building Stories

Five Architectural Histories

BuildingStories_bungalowThe Bungalow
The Chicago bungalow—sturdy, low slung and emblematic—is here to stay. Perfect roosts for big shoulders, bungalows account for almost one-third of Chicago’s single family housing today, and have been an aesthetic and residential staple in the lives of Chicago communities and families for over one hundred years. Most sit arced in a crescent framing the western swath of Chicago—from Lincoln Square in the north, through the West Side to Auburn Gresham in the southwest and down to kiss the lake at South Shore. This so-called “bungalow belt” fosters some 80,000 residences and eighteen historic neighborhoods. A true Chicago bungalow must meet several criteria, including a construction date between 1910-1940, a brick face with a stone trim, a low-pitched roof, and an offset entrance, often on the side. These, among others, allow for conservationists to identify and help preserve historic bungalows as a distinctly Chicago architectural style. (Jack Nuelle)

Far Southwest Side | Features | Housing

Lost in the Shuffle

The future of traditional public housing under the CHA's Plan for Transformation

Altgeld Gardens was built on top of "a raw sewage landfill" on the Far South Side. Photo by Stephanie Koch.

Altgeld Gardens was built on top of “a raw sewage landfill” on the Far South Side. Photo by Stephanie Koch.

Just south of Lake Calumet, about halfway between the Loop and the smokestacks of Gary, Indiana, sits Altgeld Gardens. A low-rise public housing development with just over 3,000 residents, the neighborhood looks more like a suburban residential community than like the massive high-rises that dominate the narrative of Chicago public housing. Driving south on I-94, you’re more likely to notice the landfill on your left than the neat little rectangles of two-story row houses on the other side of the highway.

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