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Wheeler Kearns wins top Chicago Neighborhood Development Award

Architecture Awards Midwest
Wheeler Kearns wins top Chicago Neighborhood Development Award. Seen here: Lakeview Pantry by Wheeler Kearns Architects ( Courtesy Wheeler Kearns Architects/Photo Tom Harris)
Wheeler Kearns wins top Chicago Neighborhood Development Award. Seen here: Lakeview Pantry by Wheeler Kearns Architects ( Courtesy Wheeler Kearns Architects/Photo Tom Harris)

The Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago brought together over 1,500 architects, developers, business leaders, neighborhood advocates, and elected officials to present the 23rd Annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA). The awards recognized nine organizations for their work in community development and architectural design.

Taking home the night’s top architectural award, the 20th Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design, was Wheeler Kearns Architects for the Lakeview Pantry. The Pantry has been a community institution in Lake View, on Chicago’s North Side, for 45 years. Recently outgrowing their rented one-story building, the organization needed to expand. Working with Wheeler Kearns, they acquired and rehabilitated a two-story masonry building just below an L station. The 7,500-square-foot space now holds a community pantry with gathering space on the lower level and administrative office space on the upper level.

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The Lakeview Pantry repurposes a small two story masonry building. ( Courtesy Wheeler Kearns Architects/Photo Tom Harris)

Second and Third place for the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design went to SOM for Chicago Public Library – Chinatown Branch and to Landon Bone Baker Architects for Terrace 459 at Parkside of Old Town.

Postmodernist icon Tom Beeby was also recognized with the Richard M. Daley Friend of the Neighborhoods Award for lifetime achievement. Beeby has chaired the Richard H. Driehaus Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design jury for the last 20 years.


“For more than two decades the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design have celebrated Chicago’s neighborhoods while honoring and recognizing the outstanding achievement in neighborhood real estate development, community engagement, neighborhood planning, and building stronger and healthier communities,” said LISC Chicago Executive Director Meghan Harte. “Community development by definition is neither easy or fast, but the people and organizations who do this work in our neighborhoods have succeeded in making progress. It is our neighborhoods that provide the flavors and texture that make Chicago unique. At CNDA, we stop briefly to recognize and celebrate individual achievements and the communities that together we have created by design.”

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The interior of the Lakeview Pantry is filled with simple materials and soft light from a tall space in the middle of the project. ( Courtesy Wheeler Kearns Architects/Photo Tom Harris)

Other Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards given out included: The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Plan Award for the Near North Unity Program for Near North Quality-of-Life and Design Guidelines, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award for the The Breakthrough FamilyPlex, The Polk Bros. Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award Winner to the Chicago Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation for Renters Organizing Ourselves to Stay, The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award Winner to DL3 Realty for Englewood Square, The Woods Fund Chicago Power of Community Award Winner to the Southwest Organizing Project for Reclaiming Southwest Chicago Campaign, The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Healthy Community Award Winner to Saint Anthony Hospital Mental Health Services.

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