This week was a big week for our group. Now that tests are over, we had most of our students too! We split up into our groups last night, which will carry us through to the completion of the project.

Students got to choose between three groups: architecture, construction (physical model/site), and structures.

The architecture and structures groups worked together this week to begin “massing” the museum. They took the program of the building – the list of all the required components of the building like the bathrooms, cafeteria, artists’ workspace, exhibits, etc. – and began making scale pieces out of foam blocks. The team worked together to put these masses together to create various floor plans for the art museum.

Team 7 Wk 11 - 2

In the construction group, students and mentors worked together to create a site plan in order to look at the museum surroundings and context. The group took an aerial drawing of the surrounding area and began to mock up a model site out of foam board and colored paper.

Team 7 Wk 11 - 1

All the teams worked hard this week and made great progress. Everyone’s ideas are getting more concrete, so it’ll be exciting to see how the various thoughts will help shape and define the museum space over the next few weeks.

We’ll finish up the physical models into next week, and continue to get more detailed from there. Next week is at ASGG again. See you then!


Designing… Breaking up the Masterplan into Parcels…

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney (who obviously never met a cat)

Week 11 was very productive! We divided the site into parcels and started designing more details about each program. The teams were broken up into the dog park, the recreation center, the food truck area, the pavilion and green space which included the boardwalk along the river, and the skate park! The groups included a project manager that helped mediate between the different parcels. Groups worked together in order to create pathways that linked the entire site together… Great job collaborating!!

Breah’s Thoughts for this coming week:

We’re going digital!  Sketchup, Rhino, CAD, Revit, Photoshop, Illustrator, whatever skills you got, bring ‘em, because we only have 5 weeks left before we have to submit beautiful, thoughtfully designed boards for the CIRT competition.  And if you don’t know any computer design program, well then get ready to live, you’ll be learning something this week!

Important Files:

SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS You have one more week to do these!!!  That’s still enough time to ask your nicest teacher for a recommendation letter, and to write a couple super easy short answers on the application form.  J  See you tomorrow!

Next Meeting:

Thursday, February 12 at the VOA Office, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Floor 14.   5-7pm.

This week we discussed façade and floor plans with our team. The meeting began with a brief presentation about building facades’ form and function.  The students then discussed what ideas they had about their form and design of the building based on the revit models they made in week 10.  The students then worked in Revit, but this time looking at the building’s form from plan view. Students considered how the spaces could begin to sculpt and organize their program.

Team 7 Week 10 - 1

We started this week off with some tangram exercises in order to get us all thinking about spaces and spacial interaction. I think we managed to get them all, but some were definitely harder than others!

Team 7 Week 10 Tangrams

After dinner, we continued to work on the project. One of the AS+GG mentors gave a presentation on bubble diagrams, which are often the first step when deciding how a building or site should be organized and orientated. (If you missed this week, let one of the mentors know, and we can send along the power point slides.)

On an aerial overlay, each of the three groups looked at ways to organize our art museum. What spaces should be the largest in the museum? What pieces of the building program should go on the 1st floor? …the 2nd? …the roof? Where should the museum entrance be and which direction should we orient the building? These are all questions we began to tackle with the bubble diagrams. Teams had ample time to come up with several solutions, some starting with one idea and tossing it out just to go in a completely opposite direction.

In the end, we identified a few trends that we will carry over into future meetings as we continue to develop our museum.

Team 7 Week 10 - 3 Team 7 Week 10 - 1   Team 7 Week 10 - 2


Next meeting: Wednesday 2/11 at 5pm at AS+GG’s office

Program… Site Planning… Team Design…

“Just as a spider spins it’s web, people make things that affect the world… There’s nothing more natural…”

-Guy I met on a plane (works for Apple)

(arguing against the notion that the world is artificial because man has transformed it)

 Week 10 was a great chance to put to paper what we learned on the site visit. We broke up into teams in order to collaborate on existing site conditions and to imagine what could be on the site. We had a lovely presentation about programming and using bubble diagrams t0 find adjacencies (similar programs that need to be near one another versus programs that should not be together). As we were exercising our design minds, mentors took note that there were some similar ideas floating around. This is good because that means we are all on the same page. Yet we also have a few deviations which is great because this is the reason why we collaborate in design… Two heads are always better than one… We presented our master plan ideas to the group and we were able to narrow our thoughts to one programming plan idea. Keep in mind, all of those other ideas from each group can still be incorporated into the winning design! We just needed a base to start developing.

This coming week we are going to further develop our site and start putting together preliminary floorplans, structure, and logistics.  So come ready to cover some ground, designing is the fun part!

 Also, if you haven’t already, please ask a teacher, counselor, boss, etc. to write a recommendation letter for you for your ACE scholarship.

Scholarships are due Friday, February 20!!!!

Important Files:

Instructions to help you fill out the on-line application

ACE 2015_Scholarship Instructions to Students

Teacher / counselor recommendation form (there’s one that you can get in the on-line application as well)

ACE 2015_School_Recommendation_Form

A sample of the ACE Scholarship Application – to show you how easy it is to fill out!!

ACE 2015_Scholarship Application Form_REFERENCE ONLY



Next Meeting:

 Thursday February 5

We’ll be meeting at the VOA Office, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Floor 14.

Team 4 has been focused on conceptual massing during the past few weeks. After defining the size and uses of the building, the students and mentors played with the size and scale of our site on the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street. The students examined the scale of familiar objects (buses and Chicago’s Bean sculpture) to gain a better understanding of the true size of the project site.

Once the site’s size and relationship to its surroundings had been assessed, the small groups each created mock site layouts to further define Team 4’s priorities. Each small group presented their plan and attempted to sell their peers on the 5 highlights of their design. Fortunately, there were many common themes and it was evident that many of the students were focused on making the site exciting and interesting to passerby as well as a place where people wanted to stay. The students voted on these highlights and determined that their project must have:

  • A Water Feature
  • A Roof Area, accessible to building visitors and/or occupants
  • Multicolored Walls
  • A Pedestrian Path bisecting the site
  • Eye Candy – a feature that draws people on to the site

IMG_1503    IMG_1505

Considering four of the project building’s uses, Team 4 broke into 4 new groups assigned to research and plan for each of the programs:

  • Farmer’s Market
  • Small Business Incubator
  • Art/Dance Studio
  • Green Space/Concert Venue

Last week’s meeting was an impassioned one as each of the program groups fought for their desired size and location for their program area. The students debated over the location and size of their program areas and, especially, their access to daylight and views from within the building.  At the conclusion of the night, Team 4 had created a rough model of our project that included all 4 program areas and incorporated the 5 priority features.

IMG_1537    IMG_1536    IMG_1541

We will meet again on February 9th and will start tackling each element (exterior, interior, structural, construction logistics, etc) of our final project.

Students are reminded to complete their scholarship applications before the February 20th deadline!


It’s been a few weeks since our last team blog post, but the team has continued to learn and make progress this month.

On the first week back after break (and after the bitter cold/snow day), the students were presented with their group project – an art museum! They will have the opportunity to design a unique art museum at Chicago’s Museum Campus. We dove right into some activities, including brainstorming about what we all want to see in the museum. Each student was full of ideas, and there was an obvious theme of wanting to make the exhibits interactive both with the people visiting on the inside and with the surroundings (natural and man-made) on the outside.

On January 21st, we began to think about the site design and layout, and how we want the site and exterior of the building to fit in to its surroundings.  The students broke up into three groups to focus on a few different topics, and each group presented their thoughts to the group at the end of the session.

IMG_3068 IMG_3074 IMG_3072 IMG_3069


This past week, January 28th, we took a break from the project to learn about the various ACE scholarships and opportunities. Students were encouraged to begin their applications online during the meeting, and the mentors helped answer questions. In addition to a number of scholarhips, ACE also has a Design/Build Summer Program for students. It’s a great way to get hands-on experience with real designers and engineers, and students who complete the program are also eligible for scholarhips.


Next meeting: February 4, 2015 at AS+GG’s offices (Link to Calendar)

Current participants in the Chicago ACE Mentor Program are invited to apply for an ACE scholarship, summer internship, or position in the ACE Summer Design-Build Workshop.

Click here to access the on-line scholarship application. You must be an active participant in the ACE Chicago 2014-15 program, and have the e-mail and password you used during initial ACE registration.

Complete applications, including transcript and teacher/counselor recommendation letter, are due no later than Friday, February 20, 2015. Late applications will not be accepted.

For more information about the scholarship application process, contact your ACE Mentor team leader or Carol Moy at

Site Analysis…Inspirational Site Visit

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the world exist. Be curious.”

-Stephen Hawking


Week 9 was very successful. We learned about how architects think in site plan/aerial view, floor plan, section, and elevation. A short exercise required students to draw bell peppers in these different drawing types to begin to grasp their meaning. Everyone did a great job! Even had some shading going on… well done! Next on the agenda was the site visit for our competition project. We did a little site analysis… checking the place out for elements and constraints that could shape future design decisions. The area seems to be a great location to revitalize… a void in the cityscape waiting to be populated with activity. Let’s see what we come up with programmatically next session… oh the possibilities!


Important Files:

Check the Google Drive (Link from Mentor) for nighttime site visit photos. We will have daytime photos soon as well.


Next Meeting:

VOA Associates (same time… same place…you know where to go! )