63rd House

The new headquarters is designed to make the most of its highly visible corner site, greeting the neighborhood with greenery and transparency.

Location
Chicago, IL

Status
In Design

Client
Blue Tin Production

Type
Office, Cultural, Civic

Size
11,250 sf

Sustainability
Targeting Living Building Challenge certification

Tags

Blue Tin Production is the first apparel manufacturing co-operative run by immigrant, refugee, and working-class women of color in the United States. As the organization and its broader movement grow, this new manufacturing studio and community hub on Chicago’s southwest side is designed to become a welcoming headquarters that centers garment workers’ well-being, deepens connections with neighborhood residents and partners, and builds long-term economic mobility and racial equity across the city.

Located along the 63rd Street commercial corridor, half a mile from where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously marched to desegregate all-white housing areas, the new headquarters embraces its neighborhood of Chicago Lawn. Guided by the co-operative’s commitment to radical transparency, the building’s bright interior, flexible programming, and green strategies challenge the paradigm of the sweatshop, elevating garment work and supporting shared making, learning, and conversation.

A library and gallery off the front entrance welcome the public inside.

The design draws on and uncovers the historic architecture—a two-story brick post office built in 1920—to reinvent it for Blue Tin’s vision. Flexible curtains surround a central, multi-purpose community room that’s naturally lit from above by the restored roof lantern, with smaller spaces arrayed around it for working, meeting, healing, and prayer. Located at the back of the building, the manufacturing studio has large, translucent doors that can pivot open to accommodate tours, sewing classes, and workshops.

Furthering the co-operative’s work to minimize the garment industry’s carbon footprint, the headquarters’ design embodies an ambitious sustainability agenda that begins with the adaptative re-use of the former post office and extends to the installation of PV panels and biodiverse vegetation on the building’s roof. Aiming to generate enough energy to achieve net zero carbon emissions, the rooftop and its adjacent terrace provide a novel space for fashion shows, pop-ups, and everyday socializing and rest that together support an equitable future.

“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

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

Studio Gang unveils designs for 63rd House, a mixed-use community and production hub inside a former post office on the southwest side of Chicago. The net-zero design creates space for community members as well as manufacturing studio for Blue Tin Production , America’s first apparel manufacturing worker co-operative run by immigrant and refugee women.

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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."