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A Rare Look Inside Lincoln Park's Enormous 'Morningstar Mansion'

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The sprawling Tigerman McCurry-designed home is truly unique

Magazine Architectural Record was recently granted rare access inside one of Chicago’s most unique and mysterious new homes. Located on West St. James Place in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and with an exterior better resembling a Silicon Valley corporate campus than a single family home, this sleek steel-frame mansion combined no less than eight individual lots to create its 216-foot wide frontage along the quiet residential street.

Though the identities of the clients behind the Tigerman McCurry Architects-designed home were withheld in the article, it’s hardly a secret who owns this property. For years Lincoln Parkers have been casually referring to the project as "Morningstar Mansion" considering it’s a widely known fact that it was commissioned by billionaire Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto and his wife Rika. The family also donated heavily towards the Helmut Jahn-designed University of Chicago library that bears their last name.

Transforming the Lincoln Park property from dream into reality has been a somewhat lengthy process. Despite Columbus Hospital closing its doors in 2001, the redevelopment of the parkside site didn’t move forward until some years later. Eventually plans called for the 39-story, Lucien Lagrange-designed Lincoln Park 2520 tower and 19 lots to be set aside for new townhomes. In 2011 Crain’s reported that Mansueto was buying all eight of the lots on the north side of St. James Place to build a single, massive home. Construction on the project began the following year.

The couple had a previous working relationship with architect Margaret McCurry and were able to articulate exactly what they wanted as the building was designed from the ground up, evolving in the process. Completed in mid 2015, the home is divided into distinct volumes to create courtyard space and and to appear less monolithic from the street. The east and west wings are connected via raised glass-enclosed internal bridges. Nearly the entire structure is flooded with natural light thanks to a high-performance glass curtain wall system and skylights. Slick horizontal zinc louvers offer shade and privacy as well as a distinctly modern appearance.

More photos and floor plans of this remarkable Lincoln Park home are available for viewing here, on Architectural Record’s website.