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Gabriel Ignacio Dziekiewicz said he hoped Casa Querétaro would help to define “a gateway for the Pilsen neighborhood.”
Ignacio Dziekiewicz, president and principal of design at DesignBridge, is the architect of an affordable-housing development at 2012 W. 17th St. built and owned by The Resurrection Project that with over 20 years of community planning first started the design phase in 2012 and concluded construction in 2016. The 45-unit apartment building replaced abandoned silos on a vacant lot that attracted crime, vandalism and drug users. The triangular property was also a brownfield site, and required the removal of three feet of contaminated soil across over an acre of land before the building could be constructed.
Casa Querétaro is now home to residents and families living in one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with large windows, granite countertops, energy star appliances and central air conditioning. The completed building is certified LEED for Homes Platinum and ranges from two-to-four stories, with onsite laundry, bicycle storage and community spaces, organized around a common entry courtyard.
“Families now have a modern state of the art facility to live in, with views out to the neighborhood and are surrounded by carefully designed landscape that previously wasn’t there,” Ignacio Dziekiewicz said. “Building and providing quality affordable housing is pivotal to the development of the City and the Pilsen community.”
The project will be receiving first place for the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design at the upcoming 24th Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA).
“We’re very excited to be winning this award,” Ignacio Dziekiewicz said. “Receiving the Driehaus Foundation Award at CNDA pushes architects and owners to evolve and to do more in community development, so it’s a really important award.”
A few miles south in the Hyde Park/Kenwood area, the Lake Village East complex will be receiving the Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award. Lake Village East located at 4700 S. Lake Park Ave., was redeveloped from August 2015 through February 2017, said Bob Kaplan, Principal at Ansonia Properties & Ansonia Property Management, LLC.
Almost all of the residents in the 218-unit property stayed following the redevelopment, which featured window replacement, renovated elevators, a new laundry room and resident lounge, a doorman check-in site, plus new copper water piping for all 26 floors.
The building had been erected in the 1970s and had never received any major refurbishment. Subsidies that had allowed many of the residents to live in the building were restructured during the redevelopment process ensuring the building’s long-term affordability, Kaplan said.
“We saw the building as a great example of a mixed-income housing community that worked and was worthy of being preserved,” Kaplan said. “We came up with a plan to renew the subsidies for another generation. It was an incredible challenge, but we feel like we’ve done something good for the next generation.”
Established in 1995, CNDA recognizes the essential role that both non-profit and for-profit developers play in building communities in Chicago neighborhoods. The Awards recognize outstanding achievement in neighborhood real estate development and community building, especially the achievements of community development corporations (CDCs), other community-based organizations and for-profit developers working to build healthier neighborhoods in the Chicago metropolitan area.
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design recognizes and encourages best practices in community design, landscape design and architecture. The winning projects clearly and successfully demonstrate a contribution to the visual, social and cultural life in the communities they serve.
LISC Chicago serves as the organizing agency for CNDA and the Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design and works closely with sponsors and volunteer committees and judges to select award recipients and to produce the annual awards ceremony.
“CNDA is like the Oscars for the affordable real estate community, so it’s an honor to win this award,” Kaplan said. “We try to put a lot of care into every project we do, and it’s nice to be recognized.”
The full list of winners will be revealed on Thursday, April 5 in the Skyline Ballroom of McCormick Place, West Building, 2301 S. Indiana Ave. Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door. Tables, which seat 10, are $650. For more information or to register, visit the CNDA website.