Tierra Linda, Chicago, IL

LBBA has been working with Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA) for over 25 years to transform empty lots and rundown buildings into safe, decent housing close to schools, parks, and other services. Together, we have built and renovated over 175 units of affordable housing in Humboldt Park. Tierra Linda, a scattered-site housing project located near the Bloomingdale Trail, has been developed to nurture health and healthy living.

In July 2014, LUCHA led an interactive eco-charrette to generate and target sustainability goals for its new wellness-centered housing development. The kick-off event, which brought together members of the design team with the maintenance staff, tenants, and neighbors of the future development, introduced the benefits of “green” housing and collaboratively developed a vision and strategies for the project. LUCHA incorporated key tactics into the development of Tierra Linda that supports the core theme of healthy living and wellness integrated amongst tenants and the community. One of the six-flat Tierra Linda buildings is the first affordable, multi-family Passive House in the City of Chicago. This Passive House advances LUCHA’s commitment to green and sustainable housing through the buildings' high performance which leads to increased heating and cooling efficiency and thus decreased energy costs for renters.

Humboldt Park & Logan Square, Chicago, IL


Completed 2018

Unit Count







Eriksson Engineering Associates (civil)

McKay Landscape Architects

Virgilio & Associates (structural)

RTM Engineering Consultants (MEP)

Eco Achievers (energy)

Passive House Institute US (PHIUS+)


Mark Ballogg

Leslie Schwartz

Green Metrics


Enterprise Green Communities

Energy Star

Indoor airPLUS

Multi-family Passive House

Passive House is a building standard popular in Europe and Canada. However, in recent years Passive House Alliance launched a United States program aimed at making high-performance passive building the mainstream market standard. Passive building is made up of a set of design principles used to attain a rigorous level of energy efficiency within a quantifiable comfort level.

Passive building principles can be applied to all building typologies—from single-family homes to multifamily apartment buildings, offices, and skyscrapers. Passive design strategy carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. As a result, passive buildings offer tremendous long-term benefits in addition to energy efficiency:

  • Superinsulation and airtight construction provide unmatched comfort even in extreme weather conditions.
  • Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air provides excellent indoor air quality.
  • A comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design, and construction produces extremely resilient buildings.
  • Passive building principles offer the best path to Net Zero and Net Positive buildings by minimizing the load that
    renewables are required to provide.
  • Lowers long term building costs due to the well-insulated and tight envelope.

Here's an informative PDF about the Passive House design for more information.