For our latest project — a Westside dog training, boarding, and daycare facility, we are working as both architect and a pre-approved Technical Assistance provider for the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. With assistance from the fund, we can work with our client on the entire design and renovation process.
The Chicago Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) launched in 2020 to spark equitable development in West, Southwest, and South Side commercial corridors. The program assists business owners in becoming viable and vibrant community members by providing them funds to grow their businesses. Call it a comeback to the activity of families and friends meeting for dinner at a locally owned restaurant, shopping at a local artisan boutique, or taking time to nurture the mind by joining an event at Coffee, Hip-Hop, and Mental Health.
As the outcome of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development RFQ process, we were selected as a pre-approved Technical Assistance (TA) provider. As a TA provider, we deliver design excellence throughout a project, including assistance securing NOF capital. Our role as TA spans the defined NOF program and each project we take on. Thus, presenting opportunities to advocate for equitable architecture and design. In addition to the TA designation, moss is also a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE).
ADAPTIVE REUSE: FORM AND FUNCTION FOR ALL
Everyone deserves beautiful, healthy and functional places to live, work, and play in. Leveraging existing urban spaces and re-using the unique architectural gems found within is a simple, sustainable adaptive reuse solution. Saving a building’s existing exterior structure and salvageable materials we discover onsite is what we do best. This philosophy of transformation and reducing our carbon footprint is one of the core competencies that define our work.
Our portfolio has several adaptive reuse projects, including our West Loop renovation of a West Loop warehouse for CoLaboratory. Like our current dog training facility project, the CoLaboratory building was an empty shell with minimal interior walls. We transformed the space with several program elements to create a light-filled space with two levels of various office spaces and meeting rooms, gender-neutral bathrooms, a commercial test kitchen and bar, and an inviting lobby entrance with a cafe.
NEIGHBORHOOD OPPORTUNITY FUND – CASE STUDY
A PLAYGROUND FIT FOR CANINE KINGS AND QUEENS
Currently in the pre-construction phase and nearing permit approval, the 14,400 SF brick building is an ideal open space to redesign as a state-of-the-art training and boarding facility. The program includes renovating the interior and exterior, including new clerestory and standard windows, and improving the exterior surroundings with native landscaping.
Being an open space with minimal interior load-bearing walls allows us to include our client’s programmatic requirements in an economically sensible way.
On the exterior, we are creating a new entrance along the north side of the building and taking a cue from an existing corner entrance in its design. The entry will be recessed and framed with a limestone border and colored glazed bricks — this provides a nice contrast from the bulk of the building’s beige brick.
We are maintaining or improving much of the original glazing in the building as well. The high clerestory windows along the south elevation allow plenty of natural light to filter through the primary use space of the training ring and the kennel, along with the reception and retail areas.
A vast expansive room encompasses most of the building’s footprint on the interior, reducing the amount of design intervention for the training ring. Next, we’ll frame out the remaining spaces like offices, retail space, meeting rooms, bathrooms, laundry, storage, etc.
THIS GRASS IS GREENER HERE
The current state of the existing plant life is out of control and requires some attention. So we’re removing the overgrown plants and impervious hardscape and replacing them with native plants and artificial grass for the dogs to enjoy. Reducing hardscape and adding drought-tolerant plants accomplishes two things: reducing the amount of stormwater that flows into the city’s sewer system and visually enhancing this slight stretch of Chicago’s West Side.
With our design intervention, this once vacant industrial building is morphing into a vibrant play space and one that will help activate the street.
Check back for updates and final photos and possibly the answer to who’s a good boy(?).
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