Recognizing that historic churches are centerpieces of Chicago’s neighborhoods, the Archdiocese of Chicago approached the Chicago Architecture Foundation to sponsor a competition to save the facade of St. Boniface, a Romanesque revival church closed in 1989. Our design was selected from among four Chicago architecture firms invited to participate in the 72-hour ideas competition.
The goal was to inspire the inhabitants and visitors with a design that preserves the ecclesiastical presence of the church building, while answering the secular needs of the community. Our program addressed these needs by dividing the property into three interrelated uses: multi-family housing, day care and community center, and private health clinic.
The housing component is based on the concept that there is a need for supported living for families facing challenges with individual family members. These challenges range from manageable developmental disorders, to limited physical disabilities, to multi-generational family care situations. The community and day care center fulfills an idea of community spirit inspired by the architecture of faith. It is an opportunity to provide resources for community arts groups and organizations, after school programs, and private events. The clinic would house a private health organization providing medical services out of a prototype environment. That environment would introduce model working conditions for health care staff and a comfortable physical experience for patients. It would also become a community friendly destination by reintroducing the traditional neighborhood pharmacy. The three components are individually sound, but they particularly make sense as adjacent and integral environments.
106,500 square feet
Becker, Lynn. “Sins of Demolition,” Chicago Reader, 22 August 2003.
Craig, Bob. “Noble Designs,” Midwest Real Estate News, October 2003, 42-52.
Kamin, Blair. “Plan chosen for church, but no certainty it will be used,” Chicago Tribune, 13 August, 2003.