studio dwell architects, chicago

Homes on skinny urban sites tend to have few opportunities for windows, resulting in dark interiors. But Mark Peters, AIA, came up with a light-gathering strategy for this Chicago residence. He embedded a south-facing, second-floor courtyard in the middle of the project, thus carving a private pathway for sunlight into the home's long south side. The courtyard, which is connected to the street by a narrow set of stairs, also mediates the home's two-level entry sequence.

Carefully chosen materials—ground-face concrete block, brick, and wood, all in the same inky color palette—form a textural interplay on the outside of the house. The same elements dominate the interior. “One of our main goals is to try to bring exterior materials inside,” Peters says. “We like to keep the materials real and true.”

The judges approved. “It's incredibly detailed,” said one. “Very nicely done.”

principal in charge / project architect: Mark Peters, AIA, Studio Dwell Architects
general contractor: Bob Ranquist, Ranquist Development, Chicago
project size: 5,500 square feet
site size: 0.07 acre
construction cost: $145 per square foot
photography: Marty Peters