Professor Jeffrey L. Day’s firm Min | Day wins 2 design awards for the Bucktown House in Chicago

Professor Jeffrey L. Day’s firm Min | Day wins 2 design awards for the Bucktown House in Chicago

By Stephanie Kuenning

May 6, 2015

The UNL College of Architecture is pleased to announce two awards won by Min | Day, the architecture office run by Professor Jeffrey L. Day, AIA, Director of the Architecture Program:

1. An AIA San Francisco Citation Award for Interior Architecture, announced at the AIA San Francisco annual awards banquet on April 29, 2015.

2. A Citation for Architectural Interiors in the 2015 Residential Architect Design Awards, announced by Residential Architect Magazine on April 30, 2015.

About the Bucktown House: Located in the rapidly transitioning Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, this extensive reworking of a recently completed spec. house combines a quiet urbanity with intimate spaces, unexpected moments and a close attention to detail. Without moving a single structural wall or modifying any fenestration, we radically changed the relationship and character of spaces through an emphasis on custom millwork, furniture (custom-designed by the architects as well as commercial selections), nuanced lighting, and an extensive art program including commissioned works. White Oak paneling and cabinetry walls dominate the public areas and create a sense of cohesiveness from space to space. The solid, rabbeted Oak construction is detailed like veneer at its edges. Cleverly hidden storage and infrastructure sit behind the wood walls while hot-rolled steel animates fireplaces, niches and shelving. White walls and white furniture with red accents fill the Oak-defined rooms.

Certain rooms deviate complete from the White Oak and white paint regime such as the glossy black exercise room, red wine cellar, black, white and chrome office and the pink bedroom. Decks on 4 levels and pocket gardens provide outdoor spaces with city views as well as intimate spaces for contemplation. We used Garapa wood, stained to match the interior White Oak for all exterior surfaces. At the upper roof deck, these two woods create the appearance of continuity between inside and outside.

In the basement, a minimal Oak wall with simple cabinets unites a well-stocked bar with an home a/v theater. A new stair / bench leads from the basement to an intimate and sheltered basement garden and deck. On the main level, s faceted Oak paneled wall with a steel niche and fireplace discrete hides flues and allows nature light from a property-line window to filter through. At the touch of a button a hidden, motorized liquor cabinet descends into the niche. A minimally-detailed Oak passage with hidden doors leads to the highly-detailed kitchen and family room, dominated by backlit Oak cabinet walls. This space opens out onto a terraced set of steel and wood decks that ascend to the roof of the existing garage.

New glass guardrails contain the main stair and the Oak reappears in the master bathroom and bedroom suite. In the bedroom, a secret orange desk with custom bench opens into the room. The office and pink bedroom are additional moments of surprise on this floor.

A last flight of stairs takes one to a small penthouse with bar that opens out to a covered outdoor dining area and an open deck with tall-grass planter. The penthouse and upper deck form a continuity of indoor, semi-enclosed, and outdoor spaces untied by a straightforward use of wood boards.

The result is a carefully orchestrated sequence of living spaces and curated art installations (including important works of contemporary photography) that respond directly to the personalities of the inhabitants.

Photographs by Paul Crosby.

For more on Min | Day visit

About the UNL College of Architecture: The College of Architecture brings together an array of disciplines to address real problems and difficult challenges with innovative and collaborative design action. United by a commitment to the transformative power of design, students and faculty come together in a creative environment integrating studio-based teaching, rigorous design-research, creative output and community-focused engagement. By merging disciplinary theory and professional practice we innovate, add value and give form to all aspects of the designed environment.