In Chicago, you’ll find plenty of options when it comes to public and private housing. Many of
these include thousands of affordable housing units situated in different areas in the city. The citywide affordable housing initiative is supported by the Dept. of Planning and Development which aims to continuously develop more affordable housing projects in the neighborhood. This project is geared towards rehabilitating the housing segment and making it readily available for low-income Chicago residents.
If you are looking for architects and designers that specialize in affordable housing, we’ve gathered 10 of the best firms to help transform homes into beautiful, functional, and practical spaces without breaking the bank. The architectural firms featured in this guide offer the most comprehensive list of affordable housing project firms and are chosen for their years of experience, exceptional work, and accolades.
Top Housing Architects
850 W. Jackson Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60607
About Nia Architects
Nia Architects is a Chicago-based architectural firm established in 1996. The firm offers architectural, interior design, and construction management services to residents in Chicago, Washington D.C., as well as clients all over the globe. For 24 years, Nia Architects has worked on different types of projects, especially in the housing, education, public, and civic sectors.
The name, Nia, means “purpose” in an African language. Hence, it has become the foundation of the company’s mission and principle. Nia Architects aim to serve its clients with purpose both in the design and customer service. As a Nigerian-founded firm, most of the staff at Nia Architects come from immigrant families. The firm is made up of a diverse and talented team of designers and architects. Diversity has become one of the firm’s strong suits, especially when it comes to crafting innovative, unique, and creative designs.
Its designs have been showcased in various publications including Chicago Tribune, Curbed Chicago, Multi-Housing News, Architect’s Newspaper, and Crain’s Chicago Business to name a few. The black-owned architectural firm is registered with the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), American Institute of Architects (AIA), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change.
223 West Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60654
Established in 2010, JGMA has been providing provocative architecture both nationally and internationally. The internationally-renowned firm has worked on a variety of typologies in the residential, education, recreation, health, and corporate industries. JGMA is committed to serving the Chicago neighborhood by creating high-quality housing designs that are affordable. As part of its mission, the firm continues to support non-profit community organizations that will benefit the people of Chicago.
Juan Gabriel Moreno founded JGMA as a progressive firm incorporating inter-disciplinary principles and community engagement with the vision of enriching people’s lives. Moreno is a celebrated architect honored by the former President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos as one of the recipients of the 100 Colombianos in 2013. His works have also been internationally recognized with the PIECE Award for International Excellence in 2013.
JGMA has been recognized numerous times for its state-of-the-art designs. Recently, the firm was awarded the 2020 Interior Design Competition winner at the IIDA 47th Annual Interior Design Competition. It also received the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design at the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards. Its designs have been featured in Architectural Digest, Architect’s Newspaper, Architect Magazine, World Architecture News, and Architectural Record among many others.
Hooker DeJong, Inc.
1 W. Monroe St. 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603
About Hooker DeJong, Inc.
Hooker DeJong, Inc. is made up of a team of dedicated and skilled architects, interior designers, engineers, and specialists. Founded in Michigan in 1936, it continues to provide architectural, interior design, and engineering services in the Midwest and across the country. As a full-service architectural firm, it also offers assistance in design development, project planning, and construction documentation. Its projects span across various industries such as affordable housing, senior living, commercial, retail, healthcare, government, and education.
With over 80 years of experience, Hooker DeJong, Inc. has built an impressive portfolio of diverse clients and successful projects. The firm’s portfolio and works have gained publicity particularly in Apartment Finance Today, Senior Housing News, Curbed Chicago, and Chicago Tribune. The AIA and LEED-certified firm is known for delivering complex projects on time and on budget.
The design team operates under the guidance of David Layman who serves as the company’s president and CEO and has been a board member of the Michigan Housing Council. Made up of a group of creative collaborators, Hooker DeJong, Inc. attributes its success to the team’s in-depth knowledge and expertise in the architecture, engineering, and construction fields. Its design and work principles are based on quality, efficiency, and reliability.
Cordogan, Clark & Associates
1415 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642
About Cordogan, Clark & Associates
Since 1951, Cordogan, Clark & Associates has been one of the leading architectural firms in Chicago. As a full-service company, it offers a wide range of services from architecture, interior design, engineering, planning, construction, consultation, to forensic investigation. The company has developed its expertise in designing spaces for residential, educational, civic, commercial, healthcare, hospitality, and recreational projects. With its tenure, the firm has extensive background and experience in developing and managing technical designs and complex projects.
The firm’s team of goal-oriented designers place high importance on planning and developing designs based on quality, functionality, and affordability. Known for completing projects on time and budget, Cordogan, Clark & Associates has built a reputation as an efficient architectural firm capable of taking on all types of projects. The AIA and LEED-certified firm has received awards from the AIA and Precast Concrete Institute and Community Beautification Awards. Its designs have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, BD+C, Chicago Daily Herald, and NIU Today.
For 69 years, the partnership between John Cordogan and John W. Clark has proven to be a successful venture. One of the firm’s notable projects is the Milwaukee Avenue Apartments located in Avondale. The apartment building was designed to cater to residents with sensory and mobility disabilities by making the apartment units fully accessible to the homeowners.
FitzGerald Associates Architects
912 West Lake St., Chicago, IL 60607
About FitzGerald Associates Architects
FitzGerald Associates Architects has been operating as an architectural firm in Chicago for over a century. Established in 1919, the firm caters to residents in the Chicago neighborhood as well as the suburbs. The fifth-generation architectural firm has worked on various types of projects designing apartments, affordable housing, mixed-use developments, luxury homes, retail, and hotels. Many of its projects are tailored for high-profile clients across Chicago.
Its designs have been recognized locally and nationally. In 2019, FitzGerald Associates Architects received the HBAGC Excellence in Housing Design Gold Key Award, Friends of Downtown Best New Building Award, and CAMME Awards Innovative Building Design Award. Its projects have been featured numerous times in the press including the Chicago Business Journal, Nadig Newspapers, Multi-Housing News, Bisnow, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Architectural Digest. The firm is also associated with the AIA and LEED.
FitzGerald Associates Architects is composed of a talented and diverse group of people who share a unified goal of building designs that create a positive impact on the environment. It operates under the tutelage of Pat FitzGerald who serves as the company’s chairman. He is recognized for his outstanding work in urban infill housing and has helped build over 20,000 units in Chicago’s affordable housing and luxury residential projects.
John Ronan Architects
610 N. Fairbanks Court Chicago, Illinois 60611
About John Ronan Architects
Chicago-based John Ronan Architects has been in business since 1999. With over 20 years of service in the architectural industry, John Ronan Architects continue to provide architecture, interior design, landscape design, urban design, and planning services to the Chicago community. Its scope of work encompasses various industries including residential, recreational, commercial, educational, cultural, religious, and hospitality projects.
As an internationally-acclaimed design firm, John Ronan Architects has received numerous awards from the AIA namely the 2020 Distinguished Building Award and the 2020 Divine Detail Award. The same year, the company also won first place in the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design at the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards. The firm’s designs have also been recognized in the press such as Architect Magazine, Elle Decor Italy, Hinge, Metropolis Magazine, and The New York Times to name a few.
The firm is made up of a group of committed and passionate designers led by John Ronan. His previous works were showcased in international exhibits as well as national displays particularly the Art Institute of Chicago and The Architectural League of New York’s Urban Center. John Ronan Architects aims to provide exceptional quality and service to its clients using a collaborative approach.
401 West Superior Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60654
About WJW Architects
Formed in 1991, WJW Architects is an architectural firm specializing in housing and healthcare projects. Since its inception, the firm has worked on hundreds of projects across the Midwest including affordable housing, senior living, institutional, and community development properties. Its team is made up of skilled individuals who are experienced in formulating accessible and sustainable designs.
WJW Architects is headed by Mike Jerabek, Todd Wiltse, and Heidi Wang. The combined skills, experience, and knowledge of the trio has led to the success of the firm. The firm’s design process integrates the use of sustainable practices and structural designs. WJW Architects is known for its remarkable works in designing affordable multifamily homes as well as architectural designs for individuals with disabilities.
Over the years, it has received recognition for its works in the affordable and supportive housing sectors. In 2018, WJW Architects was awarded the NGBS Green Partner of Excellence and in 2019, the Wyvetter H. Younge Award from the Illinois Housing Council and Illinois Housing Development Authority. The firm is a member of the AIA, Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change, and is LEED-certified. Its past designs were featured in Forbes, Multi-Housing News, Architect’s Newspaper, and Bloomberg.
Weese Langley Weese Architects
20 West Hubbard St., Chicago, IL 60654
About Weese Langley Weese Architects
Serving Chicago and its neighboring areas, Weese Langley Weese Architects has been in business for over 40 years. Founded in 1977, the firm offers a wide range of architectural services focusing on affordable housing, commercial, educational, and religious projects. As a full-service architectural firm, its specialty is in affordable housing including historic structures and new construction. The firm caters to a broad clientele and has built a strong portfolio with different types of projects.
Weese Langley Weese Architects is composed of a small group of highly-skilled and talented individuals with an extensive background in the industry. Its team of experts is geared towards providing clients with exceptional quality and impeccable service. The firm is run by partners Dennis W. Langley and Daniel Towler Weese who are experts in the architectural field.
In 2017, Weese Langley Weese Architects received several awards including the Historic Art Deco Award from the Urban Land Institute Chicago Vision Award, Honorable Mention for Special Needs Housing by the Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award as well as the Award for Rehabilitation Landmarks Illinois from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award. The AIA-accredited firm was featured across several magazines and newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, Architect’s Newspaper, Chicago Sun-Times, and Architect Magazine.
1415 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642
DesignBridge was founded in 1985 as an architectural firm offering its services to the Chicago neighborhood. For over 30 years, DesignBridge has worked on numerous projects in the housing, commercial, mixed-use developments, and institutional segments. The AIA and LEED-certified firm is led by Gabriel Ignacio Dziekiewicz who also serves as the president and design principal. Operating under Dziekiewicz is a team of creative and diverse individuals who work independently with one goal of providing innovative solutions.
The firm aims to provide a multidisciplinary approach to its plans in architecture and interior designs. Its design process uses a personalized approach to each project based on research, experience, collaboration, and analysis. The solution-driven firm also incorporates sustainable practices into its designs to create an efficient system while catering to the needs of the client.
Many of its past works have been showcased in print and online publications including Association of Licensed Architects, Realtor.com News, Modern Luxury CS Magazine, and Archinect. DesignBridge was also recognized for its innovative designs and was awarded in 2019 as the Best Sustainable Architecture & Design Studio by Chicago BUILD Construction & Engineering. In 2018, it received first place in The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design.
Landon Bone Baker Architects
1625 W Carroll Ave | Chicago, IL 60612
About Landon Bone Baker Architects
Landon Bone Baker Architects (LBBA) is a full-service architectural practice that has earned a strong reputation for bringing responsible, contextual design to multifamily affordable and mixed-income housing and neighborhood planning. The firm’s portfolio of projects ranges from large to small scale urban developments; from single-room-occupancy buildings to affordable apartment rehabilitations; from daycare centers to comprehensive community redevelopment efforts. LBBA provides good design in a way that is engaging and respectful to residents, communities, and their neighbors in Chicago and the Midwest.
LBBA is distinguished by our community-based approach, working closely with city officials, neighborhood organizations, CDC’s, and developers of affordable and mixed-income housing to create the best possible solutions. The team responds to the context, program, budget, and community concerns while integrating sustainability and health initiatives through engaged collaboration. LBBA’s goal is to design comfortable, attractive, secure, and livable environments that help keep residents rooted in their communities. The firm’s various works have earned awards such as the 2020 Readers Choice Award Preservation Winner by Affordable Housing Finance and the 2020 AIA/HUD Secretary’s Award Community for Informed Design Award. Many of its designs have also been showcased in ArchDaily, Architectural Record, BD+C, Curbed Chicago, Chicago Sun-Times, and Fast Company to name a few.
Over time, LBBA has grown more involved with the early stages of development and design, developing large- and medium-sized urban planning and building schemes for market rate, mixed-income, affordable, and subsidized housing projects. The firm’s familiarity with community development programs, applicable codes and requirements, and financing options have helped LBBA establish a framework for best practice design and construction. Its best practices include green initiatives, sustainable development programs, alternative material development, sustainable landscape design, and coordination with the general contractor as a cost-containment measure.