The Chinatown neighborhood is undergoing a condo boom like the rest of Chicago. Here, however, entire blocks of old industrial or railroad land suddenly spring up with monotonous red brick box housing. Most are narrow and tall, with first floor garages and little attention paid to public space or attractive facades or entryways. But there is one odd house that stands out from all the others.

The way these houses are crammed in together on private dead-end alleys, its hard to tell if this view is the front or back of the house.

Every level of the house enjoys florid balconies and elaborate peacock gilding on the windows.

There is no yard, per se, but space for potted plants in a dense tangle or wrought iron and vegetation.

The other side of the house looks out on a narrow alley-like street of a dozen boxy drab brick buildings of the same size and shape, but entirely lacking in detail.

Copyright 2010 Matt Bergstrom