Keywords Change this

Social Housing

Project timeline

1963 – 1966



Location Change this

South Clark Street
2031 Chicago

Also known as Change this

Raymond Hilliard Center

Architect Change this

Raymond Hilliard Homes Change this

1 of 7

Description Change this

The Raymond Hilliard Homes (also called Center) was a Chicago Housing Authority complex located on the near south side of Chicago, containing two 16-story round towers for elderly housing and two 18-story curved towers for low-income family housing. Supporting 756 dwelling units, the complex included lawns, playgrounds, and an open air theater. It has since been renovated by the private sector and converted to mixed-income housing, still with a significant lower income population. It is also now listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1997, recognized for exceptional design.

Unlike Marina City, which was largely supported by its core, Hilliard Homes was supported by its exterior structure, what Goldberg called a "shell structure." As Goldberg described it, "an eggshell is more efficient than a tree." In the core he placed the usual mechanical systems and also a community space, because he felt that this was important for the elderly and also hoped that by designing a complex for both the young and old that the elderly could bring their wisdom experience to the younger groups and the elderly would also benefit from their interaction with the young.

Meant as a new solution to public housing woes, Raymond Hilliard was built to be a structure which residents would be proud to live in. Goldberg felt that much public-housing was designed in such a way to make the poor feel that they were punished for being poor and did little other than warehouse them. As stated by Goldberg in a 1965 promotional piece, "their architecture must meet them and recognize them, not simply store them." Residents were chosen from records of model citizenry in other housing projects, and for many years this was the only public housing complex which needed no constant police supervision. The unusual tower shapes maximized the space allowed by Public Housing Authority standards while creating a sense of community and openness.


Posted by Maria Thuroczy | Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 | 10:49am
Nice thoughts! What I really like in this building is it’s economy in all sense. The materials used and the advantages of the circular shape. Circular not only in the way of the arrangement, but also in the sense of social equality.
Posted by Guest | Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 | 09:58am
I guess that really architecture had to solve social problems as well, it mustn't act like a l'art pour l'art discipline, it must reflect, communicate and shape the society in the way of the progression. This is a great example for social sensitivity, pretty much better than Corbu's social housing concepts...

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