Kenna Apartments: Early Modern Architecture in South Shore


Kenna Apartments. This and other photos by Eric Allix Rogers except as noted.

Tucked away on a dense block of apartment buildings on 69th Street between Paxton and Crandon, the Kenna Apartment building at 2214 E. 69th Street doesn’t immediately call attention to itself. Like many neighboring buildings, it’s three stories tall, made of brick, with a hexagonal bay of windows projecting towards the sidewalk.

But look a little closer and you’ll begin to see that it’s special: the front door is flanked by elaborate stone carvings of a man, woman, and child; the wooden window frames bear intricate carved designs; and the brick corners of the protruding bay are delicately interlocking. Although subtle, these design details hint at the building’s distinguished architectural pedigree. It is the work of Barry Byrne, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and one of the country’s most significant Prairie Style architects. The Kenna Apartment building is one of South Shore’s many gems, and quietly tells a story of how this neighborhood has nurtured some of Chicago’s best architecture.

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