SOS Children’s Villages is an international nonprofit organization that builds communities and helps foster children grow in safe environments. The multi-family housing project is located on their campus in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood in Chicago’s south side.
The design was influenced by the unique programmatic needs and distinctive urban conditions of the campus. The project houses three different users: biological parents, relief parents and returning college students. Each are located on different floors, have their own bedroom and bathroom, but share a common social space. The project is located at the end of the residential campus boulevard adjacent to a recreational area and bound between two elevated train lines. The design mediates between the inner community grid of the village and urban diagonal grid established by the train line.
The larger massing of the building which encompasses the private functions maintains the typical material and orientation of the other campus houses. In contrast, the common spaces are articulated as cantilevered and rotated boxes. These boxes are clad in a milled fiberboard panel with a distinct pattern that reflects the huge number of foster children that SOS Children’s Villages has helped and the delicacy of each child’s family circumstance.