Quick guide to 10 common Chicago housing styles

Chicago has some unique residential architecture. The design shop ALSO put together a quick guide:

The Bungalow

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With more than 100,000 bungalows in the Chicago metro area, this structure was the Windy City’s new workers cottage for the 20th century. Constructed between 1910 and 1940, the bungalow was originally built for working-class owners and is characterized by it’s one-and-a-half stories, brick construction, street facing verandas, and full basements. The Chicago bungalow was commonly built with limestone accents, dormered roof, and concrete entry stairs. The typical interior layout consisted of a living room, dining room, and kitchen on one side of the building, while the other side contained a series of bedrooms and a bathroom. The attic had ample storage and many homes featured a back porch, all of which was decorated in Arts and Crafts style woodwork. This truly was a new way life in the 20th century…

The Courtyard Building

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The distinct U-shaped courtyard building was built around green space visible from the street. Largely constructed between 1910 and 1930, the units were initially sold as luxury housing. With a front entrance stairwell shared with only 5 neighbors, a large back staircase, and a design that allows for good cross ventilation, these buildings made for very pleasant city living. Courtyards were rarely built taller than 3 stories as Chicago ordinance made it expensive for developers to build higher, due to fire-code restrictions and elevator requirements.

See the print options here.

Some of these are more iconic than others. For example, there is a non-profit group dedicated to Chicago bungalows but classic Dutch Colonials or Four Squares don’t get as much attention. And I’m a little surprised that some version of a bigger multi-story building didn’t make it here. What about all those big and bland lakefront condo buildings from the 1950s-1970s?

I wonder what such a list would look like in 50 years. While the options presented here might still dominate the list – not all neighborhoods are going to have major renovations – there will certainly be additional options. The South Loop Loft? The Slick Brick Renovated Three Flat?

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