Saturday, July 26, 2008

Holsman, Holsman, Klekamp & Taylor

Holsman, Holsman, Klekamp & Taylor was one of Chicago's more venerable firms, descended from Henry K. Holsman, and the ancestor of today's real estate firm, Parker-Holsman. This entry is going to focus on one of their 1950's projects, centered around the intersection of Hood and Wolcott in West Rogers Park.

These were built by the architects development arm, Community Development Trust. This company specialized in high density, for-sale owner-occupied housing, which at that time meant cooperatives - or more specifically, mutual ownership in trust - via a not-for-profit corporation. These can be found across the city, and in fact, the Chicago area in general, as there is one project in Evanston.

Not only was this an usual ownership and development form, there was also technical innovation as well. They are built of bearing wall construction, of solid masonry - refer to the image at right, which shows the system, as built at the Lunt-Lake Apartments. They also feature radiant heating and an innovative structural floor system allowing lower floor to floor heights and enabling more floors within the overall building height.

In plan they are also economical, being fairly similar in size (unit-wise) to tract houses of the era. The structural system gives them almost an Eichler-esque interior feel, that of a single-family post and beam construction building, particularly on the top floor walk-up units. Units range from two to three bedrooms, with extra storage and laundries in the basements. In the walk-up buildings there is a dining area, with the top floor units having vaulted ceilings and fireplaces. The elevator buildings have four corner units on each floor, with one or two elevators depending on height.

Walk-up PlanElevator Plan

The site planning with lush greenery and open common space gives them a unique feel for the Chicago area, which typically favors very dense site development. With their mature landscaping they truly present an idyllic scene today, very much to the ideals of post-war planning.

View into central court
View of typical 5-story entrances

Entry view of 4-story entrance
(with intact lighting)
Entry view of 5-story building
Alternate entry type for 5-story building
(notice the "hat" shaped lighting fixture)
View of 5-story building
View of corner of 5-story building

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