Concrete Townhouse

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

This home explores the spatial gradation from communal to private in an urban domestic condition.  The main floor of the house has a more formal room to the street, a more casual family space facing to the rear hardscape courtyard between house and garage. Sliding glass walls connect the interior with the courtyard, an outdoor living room with fireplace and seating.  Stairs lead from the courtyard to a rooftop deck over the garage.    


Third floor children’s bedrooms encircle a collective play space which is connected to the communal family spaces on the ground floor via a stair, daylight and aluminum screen. The stair is pulled away from the wall so that daylight penetrates to the ground floor; the aluminum screen thus acts simultaneously as guardrail and light filter. 


The facade projects an image of openness and engagement for a family committed to city living. Entry is gained via a limestone plinth and entry portal into a stone platform inside, from which the walnut stair ascends. Exterior structural walls are of board formed concrete which is purposely variegated with different board widths and moisture content to create a rugged character balanced off with more elegant materials of cedar, glass and aluminum.

Architect of Record

John Ronan Architects


Molly and James Perry

General Contractor

Fraser Construction, Inc.


  • Fraser Design Group