In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Chicago developers, architects, and residents defined a new residential vernacular: brick courtyard apartments, which massed units in low-rise buildings around landscaped courtyards, often open to the street. These buildings accommodated higher levels of residential density and seemingly did the opposite as well—preserved and cultivated nature. The Chicago courtyard apartment creatively negotiated the social and cultural tension between reverence for the iconic single-family house and an urban society increasingly occupying multiple-unit dwellings. The designs drew upon the interest in sunlight, air circulation, and natural landscape that influenced contemporary tenement house reform, urban hospital design, the small park and playground movement, and the rethinking of the dimensions and possibilities of residential lawns and gardens. In Framing Landscape While Building Density: Chicago Courtyard Apartments, 1891–1929, Daniel Bluestone looks closely at specific Chicago courtyard apartments, unpacking the design and cultural logic at play in their construction.

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