Fannie Emanuel Apartments

Chicago, IL

IMPs Bring New Life to Senior Housing Renovation

The Fannie Emanuel Apartments, the latest addition to the skyline on Chicago’s West Side, span 20 stories and over 124,000 square feet. Originally constructed in 1963, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) project was renovated in 2017 as an investment to the surrounding community. The Fannie Emanuel Apartments is the only senior residence facility in the area, and the project has garnered an amazing response from tenants to fill it’s 180 units.

To replace the project’s crumbling brick façade, the architectural team specified a dynamic mix of smooth Formawall Dimension Series (FWDS) and segmented Graphix (FWGX) insulated metal panels in alternating bands of Allusion Blue Zinc and embossed Chromium Gray. The retrofit not only provided a much-needed aesthetic facelift, but also boosted the building’s thermal and moisture performance.


CENTRIA enabled the design team to create a visually-appealing building façade on the former Park View Apartments complex. 

Formawall is responsible for “essentially creating an insulated rainscreen,” said Matt Mosher, CHA deputy chief of capital construction. “If water gets behind the system, it’s designed to go between the panel and DensGlass behind it and wick its way out,” he added. “We think [the panels] also provide an add for the R-value.”

Visually, the panels form a weathertight skin that adds an attractive dimension to the façade, replacing the building’s tired, crumbling brick exterior. Arranged in a dynamic pattern of matte Blue Zinc and Chromium Grey, the panels appear iridescent and feature concealed tongue-and-groove joinery. 

“The panel system not only gave us the opportunity to change the look of the building, but to have a continuously insulated façade,” says Greg Marinelli, associate principal with Holabird & Root, the firm responsible for the design.  


The impressive renovation project was completed in October 2017 after just 22 months of construction. Each home was designed to conserve space, capping out at 550 square feet, and the ceiling heights in each apartment reach just over seven feet. The units are also ADA compliant.

The building was designed with residents’ well-being in mind. Amenities include a raised IPE roof deck with 30-foot tall planters, a solarium floor, a fitness room, a game room, and access to three formal gardens, an events lawn, and a looped walking path on the grounds.

  • Market Segment


  • Architect Name

    Holabird & Root

  • Dealer

    Crown Corr Inc.

  • Installer

    Crown Corr, Inc.

  • Contractor

    Old Veterans Construction

  • LEED Certification