Buck(town)ing Tradition

April 06, 2013

modern Chicago homesThe Romanian sculptor, Constantin Brancusi, said “Architecture is inhabited sculpture.” Some fifty-plus years later, Studio Dwell Architects, founded in 2004 by Mark Peters, adopts the same belief. Influenced heavily by the Sarasota School of Architecture, Studio Dwell, winds people around brightly lit corners and up floating staircases for an experience only comparable to touring a museum in which Brancusi’s works would be featured.

Studio Dwell is bringing its unique perspective to the otherwise traditional cityscape of Chicago. They want people entering their structures to, in Mark Peters’ words, “experience architecture, rather than walk within it.” And what an experience it is! Twisting through sharp angles and gorgeous exterior rooms before landing at the entrance, people are compelled to stop and marvel at the space, rather than simply walk up to the front door and knock.

Even passersby on the street have been considered with carefully positioned glimpses into outdoor gardens. The exterior space on a Studio Dwelling home is just one thing that makes it distinct. To conserve space in tight urban lots, gardens and external rooms are unexpectedly placed on top of a garage or roof or in a courtyard vestibule, wedged between two protruding rooms with larger than life glass doors.

Careful placement of large sliding glass doors and jalousie windows are used, in true Sarasota style, to bring in the maximum amount of light to the space, while still providing privacy. Making the retro feel of this coastal architectural style function in the Chicago area is what Studio Dwell does best. Minimalism and lighting allow the homes to really shine. With no distractions, a Studio Dwell home is a relaxing haven, as every home should be.

While custom residential projects make up 75 percent of their business, they also have their hand in multifamily, commercial and high-rise developments. They completely re-envisioned the “Walgreen’s building” on North Michigan Avenue with an updated lobby, enlarged glass exposure, and a cantilevered glass box in the restaurant on the fifth floor, which overlooks the water tower.

The proverbial star in the Studio Dwell crown however, must be the Bucktown Three residence. In its tight, urban location, Bucktown Three boasts a crisp white interior lit by wisely placed windows that provide privacy from the street without the need for drapery. The reflective glass railings and stairs bolster the home’s fluidity and brilliance. The whole structure is wrapped in white masonry.

With such ambitious and daring style, it’s no surprise that Studio Dwell has received acclaim and recognition throughout the world of architecture. In October of 2012, they were awarded the Distinguished Building Award for their Bucktown Three home as well as the Builders’ Choice Award for the same property. Additionally, Studio Dwell received the Rising Star Award from Residential Architect Magazine. There’s no doubt that an architectural firm that successfully brings a typically coastal style of design to the Windy City is sure to continue to flourish.


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