Five classic Courtyard condos for sale in Chicago – Chicago magazine
There is nothing more Chicago than the classic apartment building with a courtyard. Popular between 1902 and 1929, thousands of these buildings can be found in just about every part of the city. Coming in different shapes and sizes, the standard U shape tends to be the most common. But Chicagoland also has many examples of L-shaped half-lots, S-shaped modules, and multi-lot structures that look like the letter M. How did this unique building style take root in the city ? A 1902 ordinance was passed to prevent the overcrowded and unsafe rental housing conditions that defined the 19th century. New multi-unit buildings not only had windows in every room, but not more than 65% of the land. The result? Each apartment – usually no higher than three or four floors – was guaranteed light and ventilation, as well as views of a central shared green space. Separate entrances also provided much needed privacy. Let’s take a look at this type of vernacular building, many of which have now become condos.
You won’t find courses like the ones at Park Castle in West Ridge. Designed in 1925 by architect James Denson, the castle-like structure includes turrets, ramparts, battlements and gargoyles. Fountains with female figures adorn the outdoor spaces. The sprawling, double-courtyard complex turns its back on Western Avenue and instead opens directly onto Indian Boundary Park. The building originally had a moat filled with swans; retaining walls and bridges still exist today. Inside you’ll find one of the city’s best-kept secrets: an extravagant mosaic-tiled pool with a tent ceiling that takes you straight back to the Roaring Twenties. Talk about amenities! This corner unit currently for sale has been recently renovated with a brand new kitchen and bathroom. So you can think of this condo as meeting the medieval and the modern.
This 1,000 square foot, one bedroom, one bath condo might be small, but its front yard is huge. Not only does the Midway Apartment Building in Hyde Park have a beautifully landscaped courtyard, the Midway Plaisance and Jackson Park are just across the street. It’s the perfect excuse to spend time outdoors. Built in 1924 by architect Paul Frederick Olsen, the architecture itself is a star attraction with an impressive limestone front door and ironwork accents around the windows. Inside you will find an airy unit with east and west exposure which also has a heated solarium which can be enjoyed all year round: perfect for reading.
Staying in Hyde Park to share something that I didn’t think was yet in our HGTV renovation culture: a 1923 courtyard apartment building with a historically intact first floor unit. There is an abundance of character and charm here with natural woodwork, period hardwood floors, and original windows and doors including a transom in the kitchen. The south-facing windows bring in a lot of light and air. And something you don’t see every day: one of the closets has a quirky Murphy bed, which was a common feature in these kind of apartments. It can accommodate overnight guests who can escape to the University of Chicago campus, a few blocks away.
Not all courtyard buildings are architectural wonders with statues and neat landscaping. Most people who have rented or bought real estate in the city probably lived in a design similar to this condo located in Logan Square. Solid brick exterior with a closed entrance and a simple lawn, nothing too elaborate. The 1920 building sits across from Palmer Square, which offers nearly eight acres of additional green space and a direct connection to the historic boulevard system. The condo itself is a mix of old and new with two remodeled bathrooms. But the best part? Washer and dryer included in the unit!
Originally built in 1917, this vintage Rogers Park condo building is right next to a Metra and Red Line stop, as well as a few blocks from Loyola Beach. It has everything one would expect from a classic courtyard apartment with an interesting architectural design and a lovely landscaped garden. The top-floor unit features high ceilings, original hardwood floors and doors, a wood-burning fireplace with original mantel in the living room and a master bedroom that opens to a 16-foot balcony overlooking on the magnificent courtyard and its central fountain.