Much of the beauty in Oakland neighborhood is its unique melange of architectural masterpieces. Take a stroll down any number of streets and you’ll be sure to encounter new developments as well as rehabbed condominiums and stately, century-old single-family homes.
In the late 19th century, Oakland neighborhood was one of the exclusive A-List members of the upper-class Victorian mansion communities of Chicago. Some of the houses that survive from that golden era include cottages designed in the Queen Anne style, as well as some impressive Romanesque and Classical Revival homes that were designed by prominent architects. The architectural styles that distinguish the community, though, are the Queen Ann residences that are generally simple, yet elegant in ornamentation with large porches and multiple chimneys. Classical Revival architecture was one of the most popular styles in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s. This contemporary interpretation of ancient Greek and Roman engineering can be found throughout Oakland, particularly in the churches and public buildings. Some common characteristics of this school are columns, symmetrical facades, and the edifices are generally made of stone, brick, or wood.
And finally, the Romanesque school made its presence in Oakland with medieval inspired French and Spanish architecture. In the 1880s, architect H. H. Richardson had a hand in putting his signature style on projects that include private homes, clubs, and commercial buildings scattered throughout the community. The common characteristics are heavy rough-cut stonewalls, round arches and squat columns, and deeply recessed windows. In the last few years, developers have reclaimed many of these classic structures and they are in the process of becoming luxury condominium conversions.
In 2000, the Chicago Housing Authority, partnered with non-profit and private developers, launched an ambitious plan to do away with its decaying high-rise projects from the 1950s. They successfully replaced the rundown buildings with mixed-income housing for sale or lease at affordable market rates. And, in the near future, the City of Chicago plans to construct an architecturally significant pedestrian bridge linking the new residential developments to Burnham Park, along the waterfront. Many of the condos located along the lamppost-lined redeveloped streets east of Langley Avenue boast detailed workmanship and high-end amenities. Luxurious units with heated marble floors and oversized Jacuzzi tubs make for a peaceful urban existence.