Monon Boulevard and Midtown Plaza – ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Special Mention
Learn more about 2022 ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist, Monon Boulevard and Midtown Plaza (Carmel, IN).
May 11, 2022
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Developer: Related Midwest
Designers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); Nia Architects
Site Size: 0.89 Acres
One of the city’s first co-located Chicago Housing Authority and Public Libraries, Taylor Street Apartments and Little Italy Branch Library is an 89,000 sqm development that includes a one-story public library and a multi-story mixed income residential complex, with additional community spaces at street level.
To activate the street while reflecting the scale and texture of the neighborhood, the buildings are set back and staggered across the site, creating a new public space while preserving the Taylor Street Farm, a community garden. Positioned prominently at the corner of the site, the library welcomes thousands of visitors annually, with soaring open spaces designed for kids, teenagers, and adults adjacent to centralized workspaces for librarians and staff. As part of its diverse offerings, the library includes an Early Learning Play Space, designed to support parents and caregivers in developing early literacy skills through play; a YOUmedia space for teens to explore digital design, music, technology, 3D and 2D making; individual study rooms, a community room, and spaces dedicated to workforce development and technology for adults.
Built on a former brownfield and intended to revitalize the Little Italy neighborhood, the project provides 73 housing units—37 Chicago Housing Authority units, 29 affordable, and 7 market rate—and through creative public and private financing, replaces an obsolete, smaller branch library with a new, inviting and well-appointed facility. As a result, the project has become a destination for this diverse and expanding community, and a true catalyst for change.
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