Old Orchard Woods Condominiums, Skokie, Ill.

This monolithic, 650-unit condominium complex is broken up by cantilevered balconies and enlivened by green roofs at several levels, the largest of which is 1.2 acres.

The towers are clad entirely with an aluminum and-glass curtain-wall system crafted by Chinese company PD Manufacturing International. The system has integral sunshades (like the two-tiered red aluminum panels on windows on some south and west façades) to offset glare in a neighborhood where the only sources of shade for each tower are the other two towers in the complex.

In part as a nod to an adjacent forest preserve, and in part to offset the urban heat island effect, the Old Orchard Woods complex makes liberal use of green roofs. Visible at multiple levels, the main green space on the fourth floor is accessible to residents and serves as a private 1.2-acre park. All of the green roofs use American Hydrotech assemblies the system on the higher levels has sedum, grasses, and herbs and requires no maintenance, whereas the system on the fourth floor needs to be regularly maintained and allows for trees and other plants that have deeper root networks.

The ground floor of the complex is largely given over to parking, which spills out to the forecourt of the complex. An elevated concrete bridge (at right) serves as a sun deck where residents can lounge and provides shading for guest parking.

Each unit has floorto- ceiling windows. Many units have small terraces (set within the building volume), and many rooms have operable floor-level window panels that permit natural airflow.

Setbacks on the 18th and 19th floors allow for green roofs and require single- instead of doubleloaded corridors. Private balconies open onto the green roofs, which prevents the apartments on these high floors from feeling detached from the surrounding landscape.

Each of the three towers has its own ground-floor elevator lobby. Terrazzo floors add grandeur while reducing maintenance, and cove lighting hidden above a floating panel adds loft to an already generously high ceiling.

Hovey selected concrete for the building structure because it is the cheapest material available for condominium complexes in the Chicago area, but he celebrates it in areas like the fourth-floor pool and spa, with its crisply formed columns.

Buyers are allowed to outfit their units with selections from a catalog of kitchen cabinets and other details. Like those of many other developments, the Old Orchard Woods catalog includes stock and custom options—such as Merillat and Ameriscan cabinets—that have an effect on the duration of the installation process and the look of the end product.

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