This week, students and mentors met at CannonDesign’s office to further explore space planning and site strategies for their school. Precedent images of applicable program spaces such as Student Hubs, Maker-Labs, Admin Support/Dining and Bio-Tech Classrooms were presented by mentors from CannonDesign, as well as a massing and adjacency survey that helped students reimagine which parts of the program and site need to engage and interact with one another. The whiteboard wall was used to display the rankings of adjacencies determined from the survey results, further emphasizing the team’s priorities for each space. Following the survey results, the students gathered around their site model for a discussion on how the adjacencies decisions will affect the massing on the site.

After a group discussion, the students broke out into their project teams to translate their ideas into plans and sections. Learning to communicate ideas through drawing helped facilitate a collaborative discussion on how the program spaces will be used as well as visualizing the scale each space will occupy in their portion of the site.


week 9

This week, we learned about elevations and exterior cladding.

An elevation is a flat representation of one side of the building. Elevations can describe the form of a building parallel to the point at which the representation is taken. Frequently, elevations are taken and described by direction. For example, a building’s North elevation, South elevation, West elevation and East elevation. Elevations can be taken from any direction, however, the design team must decide which direction will be most beneficial in describing the building. Will an elevation in the NW or SW direction be most beneficial in describing the building? How does the elevation relate to the building’s overall form? Elevations can also describe the building’s exterior materials, what the exterior cladding is made up of.

Exterior cladding is sometimes referred to as the building’s skin. Exterior cladding houses the components within the building and attempts to protect the interior of the building from sometimes harsh exterior weather conditions. Exterior cladding can be a mixture of materials as shown in the presentation. Or, the exterior cladding can attempt to, visually, express the attributes of a dominate material such as glass (also referred to as glazing).

What do your current building elevations look like? Are you taking your elevations from the most appropriate vantage point/direction? How do your elevations describe the intent of your building’s design? What is your exterior cladding made up of? Why? Is it a mixture of materials? Does one material dominate the design? If so, why? How does the choice of your exterior cladding emphasize (or contradict) your design intention?







The Design Project – A Visit from the CLIENT

Those who have learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. -Charles Darwin

What: Project Schedule PK / Teamwork towards achieving milestones & client comments / SITE & NEW BUILDING Presentations
Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
When: Thursday, February 2, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

This week Mentor Carrie presented about project scheduling while students enjoyed some pizza! 🍕 Also, Mentor Danny introduced to the students quick imagery to show how an architect might go about treating the old and new together – not necessarily treating this project as a preservation but as a restoration or rehabilitation- one where the existing building is allowed to be somewhat manipulated by the new and vice versa.

The groups broke out to continue developing designs and coordinating materials, ideas, and information. New building needed to reconsider the giant building that was created by putting the building behind and canteliebering over the old building. New and Old building groups needed to collaborate and compromise in order to reconfigure the program to work better for both parts of the building – now conceived as one. The program division was settled and now both groups can move forward with an appropriate amount of program. Construction and Structural groups will also be able to nail down some details and numbers for the new design. At the conclusion of the meeting, SITE & NEW BUILDING presented their work.


Important Files:


Assembling a Project Schedule – Copy

Blog Quiz: N/A

Next Meeting Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
Next Meeting When: Thursday, February 9, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

The Design Project – Team Milestones and Presentations 

Architecture is bound to situation… the site is a metaphysical link, a poetic link to what a building can be. -Steven Holl

What: Budget PK / Teamwork towards achieving milestones & client comments / NEW BUILDING & STRUCTURES Presentations
Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
When: Thursday, January 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Why: First, the students learned about a project budget while enjoying dinner. Then, the teams broke out and kept moving forward towards old and new milestones and more client comments. Collaboration is key to success, and by now everyone must realize that compromise is also key to solving the problem at hand. The design is ever changing. Upon further investigation, the concern is that the new building can no longer cantilever above the existing because it would require too much building to get that high and not enough program. There’s talk of possibly penetrating through the old building. the conversation will continue next week!

Important Files:

Assembling a Project Budget


Blog Quiz: N/A

Next Meeting Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
Next Meeting When: Thursday, February 2, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Team 7 Week 10 01

This week we brainstormed our building programming and started conceptualizing our program layout.

Team 7 will be looking at a structural reuse of the Morton Salt site, which is a former industrial site on the near northwest side of the city that’s roughly bordered by Elston Ave to the west, the Chicago River and Goose Island to the east, North Ave to the north, and Division St to the south. See below.

Team 7 Week 10 02

The Morton Salt Site

This site will give us a number of unique features to play with, including access to the site from the River or from Goose Island, and several buildings with large open space on the inside and tall ceilings.

After brainstorming some potential building programming in small groups, we moved into bubble diagrams. This is an exercise often used by architects to conceptualize programming spaces within a building or site, without limiting their thinking to physical shapes or sizes. For instance, in a building like a gym or athletic facility, you’ll probably want bathrooms within the locker room facilities and both of those should be near the pool. For that situation, a bubble representing the bathroom would probably be fully within the locker room bubble, and then the locker room bubble may overlap a little with the pool area. This activity helped us visualize what spaces should be adjacent and what spaces don’t necessarily depend on other parts of the building or site.

Below is an example of a bubble diagram for a mixed-use complex.

Next week, groups will present their bubble diagrams, and then we will be splitting up into discipline groups (finally!).

Example of a bubble diagram for a mixed-use site.

Example of a bubble diagram for a mixed-use site.


Team 7 Week 10 01

One of the small groups works on their own bubble diagram.

Students and mentors met at CannonDesign’s office. As an introduction to program and massing, a presentation was given by mentors from Mortensen and CannonDesign highlighting the importance of coordination between design and the engineers. The engineers shared information about file sharing, Integrated Project Delivery, and 3D model as it pertains to building massing. After this presentation the students applied the concepts to their designated program groups consisting of Bio-Tech, Maker-Lab, Site, Student Hub and Admin Support/Dining.

The groups got hands-on building their scaled massing models (1″=30′), calculating the program needs and volumes while competing for locations on the site. Once each group had color-coded their massing blocks based on space needs they reviewed adjacencies and priorities of each program type, considering proximity of the river, parking, entry and the other program spaces. The conversations around the physical model began to reveal volumes and stacking opportunities and challenged the footprint of the building across the site. The analysis of this model will continue as the programmed spaces begin to further develop in floor plan and adjacencies are confirmed.

week 8-1

Another group looked at nearby land uses and identified the other schools and churches in the area.

We’ve had an exciting two weeks! We are finally determining the details of our project.

Week 8 started off with a structural plan scavenger hunt. In small groups, students searched through a couple full-size prints of structural engineering sheets from a building project. They had a list of things to find, and they were able to learn about how much detail goes into a typical set of construction plans.

The students were presented with 3 options for the project.

The students were presented with 3 options for the project.

After the scavenger hunt, we broke up into groups to discuss 3 project options: a presidential library/museum, a structural building reuse, and an open space project. After discussing the pros and cons of each project, the students voted on their favorite… and the winner was….

Structural Reuse!

So in Week 9, we began looking at 2 site options for a reuse of an abandoned building. Our two options were the Morton Salt factory site located between Elston Ave and the Chicago River, and the St. Boniface Church in the Noble Square neighborhood. Students broke up into a few groups to do various site analysis tasks. We looked at nearby land uses, access to transit, unique site characteristics, and more.

One of the group shows their transit access analysis for one of the site options.

One of the group shows their transit access analysis for one of the site options.


Another group looked at nearby land uses and identified the other schools and churches in the area.

Another group looked at nearby land uses and identified the other schools and churches in the area.

Students and mentors met at Thornton Tomasetti’s office.  CannonDesign organised for a speaker to present their research and master plan ideas for the Great Rivers Chicago project to the students.  After the presentation the students were divided into 5 groups to develop program ideas for the proposed project.

The five groups were:

  1. Bio-Tech
  2. Maker-Lab
  3. Site
  4. Student Hub
  5. Support / Dining space


week 7

The Design Project – Team Milestones and Presentations

Design is thinking made visible – Saul Bass

What: Structures PK / Teamwork towards achieving milestones & client comments / OLD BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION Presentations
Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
When: Thursday, January 19, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Why: Materials engineer Mentor gave an overview PK presentation on the basics of structures including connections, materials, and forces. Pros and cons of each construction material were given. Refer to the document below for the presentation.

Each group set out to complete their milestones, see below for document.


Well done adhering to the milestones & solving the client’s problems & concerns! Onward we march as we continue the design process. OLD BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION presented at the end of the session.


Important Files:

Properties of Steel ACE Rev 2


Blog Quiz:

Pick a material from the materials presentation. Find a real world example. Take a photo and describe it’s characteristics. Send all deliverables to by this Thursday to get a prize!!

Next Meeting Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
Next Meeting When: Thursday, January 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

In week 7, the presentation focused on construction management. We introduced construction sequencing and the critical path method. We also talked about new technologies in the construction arena.

We asked what construction tasks need to be done and when? How long will these tasks take and what is the priority of each task? We continued to explore what would happen if a certain task is delayed. What impact will a delay have on the project as a whole? If a task is delayed, will it stop the project completely?

Our weekly activity was to diagram tasks we were given. Where does each task fall within the critical path?

Afterwards, we broke into our groups to finish the bubble diagrams we started a couple weeks ago. Then, we moved onto massing sketches.


Next week – Lego Lab!