Apartment Styles in Chicago

Another important factor to consider when searching for a home is the style of building. Residential buildings in Chicago come in three distinct styles, each with subtle implications regarding specific amenities. It is important to know what inferences are drawn from each type of building to navigate through listings efficiently.


Some buildings are defined by the presence of a doorman. These attendants cater to tenants/owners of typically larger buildings and act as building security, providing safety and convenience that often prove indispensable. In addition, doormen offer a multitude of services beyond holding a door; they will accept and hold packages, hail taxi cabs and even manage dry cleaning/laundry, all of which can be hugely advantageous for people balancing busy schedules. Moreover, their familiar faces create a welcome atmosphere that many find comforting. The specific services provided by doorman may vary by building, but there are three standard archetypes available that typify what one may expect:

Luxury high-rises often have a sophisticated, stately atmosphere. A full staff offers concierge services such as valet, wash and fold laundering, and housekeeping, in addition to 24-hour doorman attendance. Most luxury high-rises provide recreational facilities like private health clubs, spas and pools, playrooms for children, sun decks and tenant lounges, or even unique amenities like rock-climbing walls, yoga studios, pet spas and soundproof music studios. These buildings are an excellent choice for those who enjoy or need the attentive care and conveniences provided by luxury hotels or simply have discerning tastes.

Standard Doorman buildings offer 24-hour doorman attendance but typically do not provide any additional amenities besides shared laundry facilities. This is a good fit for tenants who prefer to manage their errands independently but still value round the clock security.

Part-Time Doorman buildings offer partial doorman attendance. These attendants are present more for convenience than security. Usually, these buildings depend upon surveillance cameras and other forms of security at night while employing a doorman during the day. Although these arrangements typically do not include additional amenities outside of shared laundry facilities, they can be an acceptable option for tenants who may not feel the extra services are necessary or worth additional money.


Elevator buildings have no doorman on duty, although some may have an elevator attendant. These buildings are more moderately priced than doorman buildings but more expensive than a standard walkup. Most provide laundry facilities and intercoms or other security measures. Regarding quality, comfort, and safety, elevator buildings can be considered a middle-ground between the other two building styles.


Walk-ups are not equipped with elevators (stairs only) and do not provide doorman attendance. As the least expensive accommodation in the city, these buildings are affordable but provide minimal, if any, amenities. They are typically five stories or less with passable security measures. Most buildings have vestibules equipped with intercom systems and security cameras. Walk-ups may exist in several forms. They can be situated above storefronts or stand alone as low-rise buildings. Rowhouses and townhouses will typically also classify as walk-ups provided that the aforementioned conditions apply.