Studio Gang to Design Immigrant & Refugee Apparel Manufacturing Cooperative in Chicago

Immigrant & Refugee Apparel Manufacturing Cooperative Announces Launch of Community Hub Designed by Studio Gang

Originally constructed in 1920, 63rd House is located at 3055 W 63rd Street, blocks away from where Martin Luther King Jr. was attacked for marching to desegregate housing in the neighborhood.

Blue Tin Production, America’s first apparel manufacturing worker co-operative run by immigrant and refugee women, is unveiling its newest project. 63rd House, an innovative multi-functional community space, library, and manufacturing studio on the southwest side of Chicago, designed by world-renowned architecture and urban design practice Studio Gang.

“Blue Tin is built as a creative approach to systems-change, tackling historic issues in the fashion industry related to gender, class, race, sustainability, and colonialism that have long remained ‘too complicated’ to address,” said Hoda Katebi, Founding Member of Blue Tin Production. “Every day we get to imagine what we want the world to look like for our team and actively work to build it together—and now we’re so excited to be able to explore what this means on a larger, community level.”

63rd House is a finalist for the prestigious $250,000 award from the City of Chicago Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. Blue Tin chose to partner with the Chicago-based Studio Gang both for their experience in adaptive re-use as well as their commitment to environmental and social justice. The existing building, a former post office, will be developed into a mixed-use, net-zero energy community hub housing co-working space for youth afterschool, a library, exhibition and gallery space, office space for mental health practitioners, event space for political education and mutual aid, rooftop garden with photovoltaic panels, and the new Blue Tin HQ sustainable manufacturing studio.

Blue Tin has been working in close collaboration with Black and brown youth-led organizations in Chicago Lawn and Studio Gang to assess the existing conditions of the 3055 W 63rd Street building and explore spatial and sustainable strategies for its reuse. Studio Gang’s design for the building’s reinvention draws on the unique qualities of the historic structure to create a welcoming place that can connect people across differences through shared making, learning, conversation, and convening.

Blue Tin and Studio Gang’s collaboration will also be showcased in an upcoming exhibition aspart of the Chicago Architecture Biennale. Designed by Studio Gang with artist Hale Ekinci, the show will highlight Blue Tin’s work within the fashion industry as well as Studio Gang’s design for 63rd House. It will open November 19th, 2021 at 1520 West Division Street—the inaugural exhibition held in Studio Gang’s new Chicago gallery space.

“We are so happy to partner with Hoda and the rest of Blue Tin Production to support a women-led, women-owned organization that is making bold change in the fashion industry and building a strong, caring community in the process. BTP demonstrates that a model founded on equity and environmental responsibility is not only possible—it can also result in the highest quality of craft. Partnering with their team to remake a neglected structure into a new headquarters that expands their impact and becomes an asset for the whole neighborhood is an example of the kind of micro-urbanism we are excited to help make happen.”

— Jeanne Gang



Studio Gang to Launch Gallery Space During Chicago Architecture Biennial

In conjunction with the 2021 Biennial, "Studio Gang will present the first exhibition in their new Wicker Park gallery space—a look at the Studio’s collaboration with apparel manufacturing workers co-op Blue Tin Production to transform a vacant former post office in Chicago Lawn into a new production headquarters and community hub."