Tuesday, December 11, 2007


There are a large number of different basic types of apartment buildings in Chicago. As most everyone knows, the basic unit of Chicago housing is the bungalow (in it's long, varied history and forms). However, once one moves into multi-family housing, there are more complicated forms.

Chicago has never really been a row house city to the extent that other large 19th and early 20th century cities are (Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Francisco come to mind). The basic building blocks of apartment buildings start out with the humble two flat and move on from there.

The Two Flat
The Three Flat
The Four Flat
The Six Flat
The Courtyard Building

Of course, there are a huge number of variants in all of these, though they typically follow a few set patterns and aesthetic treatments.

Illustrated is a fairly ordinary limestone two-flat in a winter scene.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Welcome to my blog about one of my biggest interests, no, passions, well, obsession, which is the traditional or vernacular Chicago apartment building. The focus of this blog is going to be on pre-war buildings, however I will try to feature some from newer vintages and other locations for fun as well.

There are a lot of things that make Chicago a great city, but our housing stock is one of the unsung heroes in that greatness. I had originally wanted to name this blog "Beyond the Bungalow", but unfortunately, that name has already been taken as the title of a book about Bungalows and the Craftsman movement. However, fear not, this blog will not dwell on 4+1's in the least (though, at some point, they may be illustrated as an example), but was suggested by a friend (Thanks Geaux!). And sorry Herr Van der Rohe, but neither your luxus palazzo residence or luxurious steel and glass towers is home to the average Chicagoan (wonderful as both types are) who lives beyond the lakefront.

One of my first tasks will be to categories or create a typology of the basic types of apartment buildings found in Chicago.