Helmut Jahn's Near North SRO: Sustainable Social Housing

Helmut Jahn builds dramatic skyscrapers and vast airports all over the world; he is also the architect of Chicago's Near North SRO, (single room occupancy), a 96 unit project for housing the homeless. "The building is a stigma smasher," said Charles Hoch of the University of Illinois... "We are borrowing the cachet of Mr. Jahn to send a message to the larger society and that message is that homeless people have value, they have a role to play in society." Furthermore it is going for LEED certification, and has a network of wind turbines and solar panels that will generate about 15% of the building's power, and a gray water recovery system that will collect and recycle runoff from sinks and showers. The sustainable features cost a million bucks out of the 18 million dollar cost of the project; that's just over $10,000 per unit, and almost $35 per square foot. Sustainability isn't cheap; neither is Helmut Jahn or LEED certification. It is a price worth paying. ::New York Times