HED’s passion for simplicity and sustainability balanced form with function and delight, while adhering to the realities of tight economic constraints. The five-story development is comprised of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom residential units providing affordable housing for households at or below 60% of the area median income, along with interior and exterior shared community spaces. It also includes approximately 4,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, currently slated for development into a grocery store, addressing the lack of this amenity in the area.
With a nationwide shortage of affordable housing it is important to celebrate successful projects like this one designed built and occupied quickly with over 3000 applicants for the 72 units. These apartments now provide housing with dignity for people with incomes as low as 30% of the area median income.
The success of the project was demonstrated when the client received an overwhelming 1,700 applications for the 72 units.
Additionally during the design process, Fifth Avenue Apartments lived a parallel life to the normal LIHTC Design Process, as an aspirational Case Study in pursuit of the Living Building Challenge. Fifth Avenue Apartments ambitiously aims to provide more sustainable and healthy living conditions while maintaining the desired affordable mix. These goals are especially poignant in affordable housing, which has historically struggled to meet financial goals while providing tenants with exceptional, healthy facilities and finishes.
As a result of the LBC Pilot Participation, in addition to what HED already considers standard sustainable basics (high efficiency heating and cooling integrated with the building envelope, low flow plumbing fixtures, low emitting interior finishes, etc.), the HED team was able to streamline its processes while achieving additional benefits for the end users, including: Water Petal Advocacy: To remove a longstanding barrier for Living Buildings in Illinois, HED is advocating for the newly proposed Illinois Department of Public Health’s proposed rules and regulation for Water Reuse to be approved and implemented.
Materials Petal Design Influence: HED now has an internal methodology for vetting and specifying Red List free materials in conjunction with advocating to manufacturers to produce more options.
For Fifth Avenue – this resulted in a reduction in the use of vinyl in both windows and flooring, which in addition to being difficult to recycle, produces toxins when manufactured.
Energy Petal Design Influence: HED’s approach to energy efficiency is shifting from combustion/fossil fuel based systems to electric based system that can be powered by renewables, which are longer lasting and more resilient.
The result? Fifth avenue is 95% electric, and designed as solar ready.