Assemble Chicago

Chicago, IL

In Design (Competition Won 2021)

City of Chicago

Residential, Civic

225,800 sf / 20 stories / 207 units

Targeting LEED Platinum with LEED Zero Energy and Zero Carbon


Extending Chicago’s legacy of urban innovation, Assemble Chicago is a carbon-neutral residential community in the heart of the Loop designed to give rise to a more resilient and vibrant city. Proposed for Chicago’s 2020 C40 Reinventing Cities competition, this mixed-use project will provide 207 apartments for the downtown workforce earning as little as minimum wage, along with new public spaces and amenities, including a revitalized Pritzker Park. ⁠

⁠Leveraging creative community partnerships and innovative building technologies, the design works to reduce carbon pollution, minimize waste, and promote urban biodiversity and gardening, establishing a new model for resilient and equitable development for post-COVID Chicago.

The building is grounded by The NeighborHub, a highly public multilevel base that hosts ecological, community development, and cultural programming for Chicago’s residents, neighborhood groups, and local businesses. Weaving seamlessly together with a reinvigorated Pritzker Park, the NeighborHub transforms its site into a vibrant indoor-outdoor civic hub for all Chicagoans.

Rising above this base is a mixed-income residential community that provides efficient and healthy living spaces for the Loop’s moderate- and lower-income workforce. Each apartment features a contemporary version of Chicago’s classic bay window that draws in ample natural daylight and fresh air. Stacked over the height of the tower, the bays create a rhythmic, vertically articulated façade that resonates with the architectural character of the Loop’s historic buildings while introducing contemporary materials and technologies that dramatically increase the building’s environmental performance.

A generous tribune stair connects Pritzker Park to the NeighborHub. The stair can function as informal stadium seating for park performances and can also allow events in the Multipurpose Room to spill outside in warm weather. The North face of the stair can also provide generous mural space for local artists.

Uniting a dynamic public program with integrated, sustainable systems and efficient materials, Assemble Chicago responds to C40’s 10 Challenges for Climate with a site-specific design that provides a new model to simultaneously address the urgent issues of climate change and inequality in cities.

Marrying traditional building techniques with modern fabrication technology, the articulated brick façade provides fresh air and natural light in every unit while also offering a modern interpretation of the classic Chicago Window that defines the neighboring historical buildings. Flanking a fixed-frame pane, operable side windows allow fresh air to circulate throughout each unit, oriented away from the trains to minimize noise and provide a small “window garden” for residents.

The Community Builders/Studio Gang Team

The Community Builders, lead developer

DesignBridge, associate architect

JAQ Corp Int, residential architect

Site Design Group, landscape architect

Thornton Tomasetti, structural engineer

dbHMS, MEP engineer and sustainability expert

Applied Ecological Services, ecological systems consultant

Engage Civil, civil engineer

Rush University College of Nursing, wellness clinic operator

Center for Neighborhood Technology, sustainability and resiliency advisor and advocate

Calibrate Coaching, food hall operator


Winner, The Architect's Newspaper Best of Design Awards, Unbuilt – Residential Category, 2021



Studio Gang and The Community Builders Win C40 Cities Chicago Loop Competition

Assemble Chicago will create 207 carbon-neutral residences for downtown workforce earning as little as minimum wage, revitalize Pritzker Park, and add community spaces and amenities to the Loop.


Chicago Sun Times — "An Rx for downtown: More housing for working folks and an improved Pritzker Park"​

"What excites us most about this project is that it will put affordable working-class housing right downtown while finding new purpose for the underutilized site...If Chicago’s downtown is to remain vital and fully recover from the crushing economic impact of the pandemic, smart and bold moves are needed."