Ardmore House is a single-family house located on a typical Chicago block at the intersection of a residential street and an alleyway.


The design of the home calibrates the relationship between privacy and exposure in this urban site.


The exterior of the home communicates its interior living patterns. With an expanse of windows spanning the second level along the alleyway, the home unapologetically expresses its openness and internal organization.


Ardmore House flips the traditional residential section, arraying bedrooms on the first floor and living spaces on the second. A two-tone wood clad façade breaks up the monolithic volume and alludes to the sectional program split.


All of the shared public areas of the home are on the second level above the alleyway - where residents spend most of the time. The private spaces of the home are tucked away behind a curving interior courtyard on the first level.


The kitchen, living, and dining spaces are located on the upper level, with the bedrooms and bathrooms on the first floor.


On Level 1, the curved wall of the interior courtyard leads to each of the bedrooms.


On Level 2, all of the living spaces are connected together under a single vaulted roof and spatially defined by their location underneath four spanning structural trusses.


A curved double-height interior courtyard atrium runs lengthwise from front to back doors, creating a vertical connection between the common areas on the first and second floors.


The second level is reached from a concealed staircase behind the courtyard’s curved wall.


The second level is organized by four trusses that hold the Chicago balloon frame home together, and designate five areas set around the curve of the balustrade: the kitchen, the island, the dining room, the powder room, and the living room.


Upon reaching the second floor, the living room overlooks the residential street while the placement of furniture directs views over the alleyway and down the length of the second floor.


Level 2 is an otherwise fully open plan save for the powder room that serves the level.


All of the second floor spaces are oriented towards a 56-foot-long ribbon window that spans the length of the western façade and floods the home with natural light. Panoramic views capture the fullness of the surrounding neighborhood.


The design of the second level responds to human needs of light and air and is fulfilled with ample daylighting , bringing in uninterrupted views out across the alleyway to connect the residents to their urban neighborhood.


The view from the kitchen's northern façade captures the back balconies and fire-escapes of neighboring buildings, and street lamps with their meandering cabling.


The view is always transforming with the time of day as residents come and go, and with seasons as the landscape and wildlife play out their seasonal changes.


Conceived of as more than a hallway, the interior courtyard offers a space of its own, overlooking the active alleyway and serving as a place to have a cup of coffee or a play area for children.


The back entrance to the home offers access to Level 1 or the Basement Level.


The kitchen window looks out over the back alley offering a view that captures the fullness of the surrounding neighborhood: back balconies and fire-escapes of neighboring buildings, and street lamps with their meandering cabling.


The design of the house communicates itself to the neighborhood. Rather than disguising the interior organization of the home, the house proudly enunciates its organization and seeks to share its effect.