Missing Middle Row House

Chicago, IL

3 And…


The Missing Middle challenge suggests infill is primarily about density. We counter it’s more about purpose. As in music composition, the rest is a deliberate pause, largely unnoticed, but as vital as the notes themselves. What if the Rowhouse block had its own “missing middle,” its own “rest” that offered something more personal

Point Of View

This proposal explores the Rowhouse as infill with purpose. Instead of a wall of facades that supposes a one-size-fits-all solution, what if there is an intentional gap—a visual rest—that accepts the street fabric but layers in a new street rhythm. Within the gap, light and air are abundant. It is where design offers time and space for expression and customization, as it wants to be, not as it is prescribed to be.

One can imagine the gap having many uses that could support and enrich life, work, family, friendships, culture, community, sustenance, and more. 

Is it

  • Green space?
  • Where the weekend side hustle happens? 
  • A super stoop for hanging out?
  • A mural canvas?
  • A community garden?
  • Playground?
  • Space for popup performance?
  • Different from day to night?
  • A place for family BBQs?
  • Or is it a placeholder for future infill?

This Rowhouse model offers a unique opportunity for the city to rebuild with purpose and placemaking where residents are encouraged to build their futures, tell their stories, and make memories, all that which defines HOME.