Independence Library and Apartments wins Architectural Excellence at Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards

May 22, 2020

Press contacts:
Office of Communications – Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan: (312)786-3344;
Matthew Aguilar: (312) 523-7067;

CHICAGO (May 22, 2020) – The Independence Library and Apartments, developed through a partnership between Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Public Library, has won the first place Richard R. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design at the 26th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA) presented by LISC Chicago.

The project was designed by John Ronan Architects and developed by Evergreen Real Estate Group.

Garnering third-place in the same category was Pierce House at La Casa Norte. Landon Bone Baker Architects is the designer.

Independence Library and Apartments, 4022 N. Elston, is a six-story mixed-use development in the Irving Park neighborhood. It provides a total of 44 senior apartments, including 30 public housing and 14 affordable apartments. It opened last year as part of three co-located housing and library developments built across the city.

“CHA cannot accomplish its mission of providing affordable, decent, safe and stable housing without partners, and we offer our sincerest congratulations to John Ronan Architects, Evergreen Real Estate Group and Landon Bone Baker Architects,” said CHA CEO Tracey Scott. “This project demonstrates the integrated mixed-use environment which enables our families to thrive in their pursuit of self-sufficiency.”

The Independence Branch has an open floor plan with natural light, flexible space for meetings and independent study, a graduated seating staircase and a large ground floor children’s area viewable by the open second floor adult stacks. The residential side includes white exterior and balconies in bright, differing colors. It also has a fitness room and an outdoor terrace.

Pierce House at La Casa Norte includes 25 units of supportive housing in the Humboldt Park community. The one and two-bedroom apartments are supported by CHA project-based vouchers and are leased to individuals and families from the CHA waiting list and Chicago’s Coordinated Entry System for homelessness.

Established in 1995, the CNDA awards recognize the essential role that both non-profit and for-profit developers play in building communities in Chicago-area 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.