Belden Brick

Enlace Chicago

Little Village - Chicago, IL




Brickworks Supply LLC Mason

Enlace Chicago is a non-profit organization supporting the Little Village community through violence prevention, education, and community development programs. Enlace commissioned Canopy to develop a new design for their flagship facility to accommodate their primary organizational needs and the more significant community needs.


Prior to design, the Canopy team conducted a neighborhood context study, documenting urban qualities and materiality from block to block. It was evident that brick masonry and glass block were used regularly as an expressive and familiar palette for homes and corner commercial buildings throughout. The new 4-story community building uses these two materials common to the neighborhood, applying them in an innovative “weaving” fashion to create a familiar yet inspiring motif through masonry.

The gradient of brick tones from the buffs in our 470-479 Light Range, Goldenrod Ironspot Smooth, and 470-479 Medium Range Smooth to deep red and the interlacing of glass block and opaque brick speak to Enlace’s organization definition (enlace translated in Spanish, means to intertwine or tie together) expressive of the organization’s mission of “connecting” and “coming together” with the community.

Attention to detail and carefully hand-crafted masonry add to this notion of communal effort and ownership. The use of glass block on the corner of the building allows for natural light immersion throughout the day and night, creating a lantern effect at night and establishing the Enlace building as a new beacon of community through its masonry detailing and articulation. The Enlace building symbolizes community, culture, and heritage through its innovative use of brick and glass blocks as one woven element that harnesses and celebrates both community and the organization.


The building features operable door panels that open the interior community space to the street to strengthen the relationship between Enlace and its surroundings while blurring the relationship between interior and exterior. Flexible spaces for working, gathering, learning, meditation, and other uses are arranged along the 3-story building interior as well as the 4th-floor rooftop community vegetative garden. Interior multi-purpose spaces provide additional flexibility to accommodate different programs that address the needs of both the community and the organization.

The concept of the brick gradient and interlacing the glass block were inspired by Enlace’s mission as an organization to intertwine or bring together the community. Brick was an important material to this project as it nods to the neighborhood context of Little Village.

Architect: Canopy
Mason Contractor: Blackwood Group
Brick Distributor: Brickworks Supply LLC Mason
Photography: Sarah Crowley

2022 Brick In Architecture Craftsmanship Award
2022 Brick in Architecture Award, Gold – Commercial
ALA Design Excellence Award
The Architect’s Newspaper Best Facade Award

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