Archer Courts

When the Eisenhower Expressway cut its path from the city to the western suburbs, the considerable displacement was eased in part by a group of city–state housing developments called “Courts.” Archer Courts (one of eight Court projects), was built in 1951 on the corner of Archer and Princeton streets in Chinatown. It consisted of 2 seven story, seventy four unit buildings. The buildings were built of concrete frames, masonry infill, steel windows, and a single-loaded corridor or “gallery” which was exposed to the weather. Each corridor had 4’-0” high chain-link fencing along its entire length, typical of many public housing projects of the time. To the west of the buildings, there was an empty lot which was used for parking and recreational activities.

The Archer Courts project as a whole presents a successful case study of an economically, racially, historically, and architecturally mixed development.

Archer Courts Townhomes

9812 Archer Townhomes Banner

In the spring of 2000, while the renovation of Phase I was underway, work began on the design of Archer Courts Phase II, a new townhouse development that would occupy the vacant land to the west of the original Archer Courts Phase I buildings. The design connects the original Archer Courts Phase I buildings and…

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Archer Courts Phase l

9801 Archer Courts Curtain Wall

Unlike many of the other buildings in the CHA Courts program, Archer Courts existed as a stable, clean and community–oriented development of working class, lower income and elderly residents. However, by 1999, Archer Courts had deteriorated to the point that some Chinatown community leaders wanted the buildings torn down. Rather than clearing the site and…

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Chinatown, Chicago, IL

Archer Courts Phase I • 1999

147 units

Archer Courts Townhomes • 2004

43 units

190 units

Client

Chicago Community Development Corporation

Contractor

Burling Builders, Inc.

Consultants

Raths, Raths & Johnson (Structural)

McKay Landscape Architects

Creative Systems Engineers (MEP)

SPACECO (Civil)

Awards

Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design 2002

Distinguished Building Award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects 2002

Good Neighbor Awards 2001