Palatial Design, Modest Price
Can a Kiwi architect create the future of urban design in the Chicago suburbs?
By NewsDude ,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2007 10:33 AM CST
Aerial View of Optima Old Orchard Woods   (Optima Inc.)
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(Newser) – Students of urban design should take a lesson from a new condominium development in Chicago's northern suburbs, the Chicago Tribune's architectural critic Blair Kamin says. Its three 20-story buildings in Skokie not only "create an instant skyline for a suburb that doesn't have one," they use Lego-like layers of glass and aluminum to create "an ever-shifting profile that unfolds with cinematic theatricality."

It's the work of New Zealand-born David Hovey, who is not just the architect but the developer. By controlling the economics as well as the design, Hovey says it's possible to bring Optima Old Orchard Woods in at the same cost as a more mundane development. Hovey's work has a palatial sensibility, despite its modesty in both height and price.