(The house as it was originally, on the left.) Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” along with Nino Rota’s iconic waltz from The Godfather soundtrack are the melodies and rhythms that inspired Lincoln Park’s Eckhause. Simultaneously modest and majestic, the Eckhause reflects the economic and cultural history of a neighborhood that has been home to both princes and paupers throughout the decades. The Eckhause is an urban residence in a neighborhood that has been home to Chicago’s most cunning gangsters and wealthiest philanthropists. This project’s vibe, like two sides of a coin, synthesizes these dual aspects of metropolitan living. The Eckhause’s West Elevation and basement windows serve as its Intro.
The Chicago Red brick pattern and limestone accents are expressions of “Forever Young’s” repetitive melodic phrasing, while evoking the aesthetic of Chicago’s multilayered past. The project features a cantilever façade supported by a radius steel beam and floor to ceiling arched windows, reflecting the song’s gravelly vocals and acoustic vibe. The ornamental stairs and railing are evocative of the oboe and clarinet solo in the Waltz, which passionately guides the listener to a graceful ascent. The Eckhause’s rhythm connects to the client’s desire to bridge economic and cultural gaps through charitable giving. The Eckhause’s Entry Sequence and Level 1 and 2 windows are its Interlude.
The client family residing in The Eckhause learned about the possibilities of JAQ’s design philosophy at an annual fundraising gala for Alternatives, a nonprofit organization in Chicago’s North Side that is dedicated to leadership development, violence and substance-abuse prevention, and youth counseling. Once the client bid on JAQ’s design services, JAQ executed the design and managed the construction for Eckhause. It stands as a symbol for the possibilities of urban altruism in a neighborhood steeped in a complex past. The Eckhause’s living room and Level 2 Dormice and Corner serve as its Coda.