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Hairpin Lofts

Chicago, IL


Hairpin Lofts is a majestic, six-story triangular building originally housing the factory and offices of a bobby pin manufacturer, and later a department store. Constructed in 1930, this National Historic Landmark was redeveloped with the goal of providing maximum energy savings, natural light, and comfort to its tenants. Currently, the building contains a ground level shoe store, 28 residential apartments, and the Hairpin Arts Center, which occupies the entire second floor.

Major Players: Brinshore Development, Anixter Center, Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, McShane Construction Company


Green Upgrade Details

During the building renovation, completed in 2011, the intricate exterior was preserved and enhanced, while the interior was gutted and restored. Windows received a facelift: on the upper residential floors, new energy-efficient, aluminum clad windows were installed, and the second story's floor-to-ceiling display windows were restored, giving plenty of sunlight to the arts center.


The LEED Gold-certified building is cooled down by a low-maintenance green roof and reflective roof coating. The roof also sports 10 solar thermal rooftop panels for domestic hot water. A second floor patio is covered by reflective white pavers containing photocatalytic cement that reacts with sunlight to destroy air pollutants.


Heating and cooling is supplied by a geothermal system that draws from 16 wells, each 600 feet deep. Although a high-efficiency supplemental boiler is available, it has rarely been used, due to the effectiveness of the geothermal system to date. Also, kitchens have Energy Star-certified appliances, further reducing utility bills. Wherever possible, original building materials were retained, and non-toxic paints and finishes were applied.

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