Career Direction for Students in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering

Archive for the ‘ACE Design-Build Workshop’ Category

Thank you to all of our Supporters!

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 08.13.2013 at .


..we couldn’t do it without a lot of help..


I would like to extend a thank you to each of our talented and hardworking ACE students who participated this summer; and of course to the many supporters of our summer program!

  • ACE Chicago Board of Directors, Associate Board, and Supporting Professional Firms
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Curie Metro High School
  • the Ping Tom Park Advisory Council
  • the Chicago Park District
  • the Chinese American Service League
  • Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture
  • Gensler
  • Halvorson + Partners
  • Mortenson Construction
  • Studio Talo
  • Cushing Company
  • ..and many individual volunteers!

Matthew Snoap, ACE Workshop Director

Design Build 2013 – Project Completion!

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 08.12.2013 at .


Congratulations to our Students!


Congratulations to the 2013 Design Build Team for completing a beautiful project in Ping Tom Park!  Students completed installation of (2) temporary park benches, (1) Chinese Chess game-table (a.k.a., Xiangqi), and (1) sign table with a map of the park!  The project turned out beautifully and was already receiving a lot of attention in the park.  Please see images of the student work below..

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Students presented their design ideas to ACE supporters on Friday, August 09 and received scholarships for successfully completing the program.  ACE would like to thank all those that turned out in support of the project on Friday morning- your attendance shows support for our students, your applause ensures a festive atmosphere, and your questions challenge the team and improve the thoughtfulness of their designs.

I would also like to pass a special thank you to the students who came out to complete installation over the ensuing weekend- especially Isiai and Chance who stuck around all weekend and probably would have kept working right through the rainstorm if I didn’t insist that they leave!

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I hope each of our 17 high school students and 2 college assistants had a great summer experience and will walk away with a greater understanding of the design process, and added insight into the leadership of one of Chicago’s strongest communities.

Matthew Snoap, ACE Workshop Director

Been Buildin': Back-Breaking Work

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 08.05.2013 at .


Safety First


Two representatives came from Mortenson Construction to talk about safety on the construction sites and about jobs in the field of engineering, architecture, and construction.  They supplied us with safety hats, glasses, and gloves.

A group of us worked on staining the bench backings. Image

Another group worked on pouring in the concrete into the foundation formwork.Image

Rachel mixing concrete.Image

Bobby carving in the game board insert.  Image


The Building Phase

The painting group staining the spacers for the benches.


The unmolded concrete foundation….. it weighs about 400 pounds :/Image


“Are Kameron and I really getting reimbursed with two planks of wood?”- Ben

“Who’s Scarface?”- Micki

“Where’s the neutralizer?! Where’s the NEUTRALIZER!”- Justin

Further Developments

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 07.31.2013 at .


Further Developments

Design Decisions

Since the client meeting, we finalized a more precise budget and decided we have the resources to build two benches and a game table.  We split into Design and Build teams for the table and the bench, the Design teams working on design and construction documents, while the Build teams completed the budgets and schedules.  We also altered the bench and table designs to provide both securer support and heightened aesthetic appeal.  With the help of our mentors, we added leg room, foot rests, and cup holders to the table and spacers to the bench.


New game table design with alternating wood disks and spacers


Improved bench section with better support

Field Trip

After finishing our budget, we took a field trip to two stores to get our supplies!  At Lee Lumber we toured their lumberyard and wood shop; then we placed our personal order for wood with one of the sales associates.  At Home Depot we were able to get the rest of the materials we needed, including stain, fasteners, and concrete.




After receiving our shipment of wood from Lee Lumber, we have begun the prefabrication process, cutting the top of the game table and beginning to measure the backs of benches for cutting.


Students measure wood for backs of benches


Martha and Andrew sand spacers for the bench


Isai marks wood for cutting


Students work together to construct game table top


Bobby saws a sonotube

Client Meeting

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 07.18.2013 at .


Client Meeting

Our Design-Build team presented the proposal ideas to the Ping Tom Park Advisory Council at the Chinese American Service League.


  • The Advisory Council supported a temporary installment to facilitate park district approval, form a prototype, and combat vandalism.  They wanted the design to be temporary but durable, and movable, but not easily moved.
  • The Advisory Council also questioned our proposed materials.  Due to current vandalism and tagging problems.
  • Our garden proposal was not formally approved by the Council because the project is both not feasible within our schedule and we would need to acquire Chicago Park District approval.  Instead, the Advisory Council suggested we complete the garden design and incorporate it into a master plan that could be used in the future.


  • A member of the Council gave us great feedback on our bench design.
  • Darryl Tom noted that most visitors of the park would prefer our designs to be placed under existing shade.
  • More design needs to be incorporated into the game tables


  • “We approve of the ideas proposed to us today of the temporary installations at Ping Tom Park.” -Ping Tom Advisory Council


  • Stakes for temporary furniture foundations
  • Having no foundation for the table would be easier to build, but might sink into the dirt with the earth’s natural processes.
  • Build on the concrete path that goes about 6 inches down to prevent from having to build a foundation at all.
  • Build under the viaduct for shade.
  • For the bench, pair shorter backs with longer seats and longer backs with shorter seats.

Design Charrette

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 07.18.2013 at .


Design Charrette

The ACE Design Build team traveled to the Chinese American Service League to host a design charrette for Ping Tom Memorial Park.  The design was initially supposed to be for a community garden, but as we split into different teams, new ideas surfaced.  Approximately 20 ACE representatives, 10 community members, and multiple designers and park district officials came together for the charrette.Image


Team Julia focused on working north of the field house, incorporating a picnic and relaxation area into a traditional Chinese garden setting.  One of their most innovative proposals was moving the already existing dirt into a cohesive pile to form a physical barrier against the noise pollution of the train and to act as a viewing point for the Chicago skyline.Image


Wentworth Group also worked north of the field house, deciding to focus their design around programming alternating with the time of day.  They also decided to incorporate traditional Chinese aesthetics, as well as designing reversible game surfaces with trellis-type surfaces that were able to compromise the garden idea with the desires of the community members.


The Greenhouse Group formed one design that could be placed in two different parts of the park.  They designed a greenhouse and a gazebo, which synergized the Chinese concept of Yin Yang with the community members’ requests for shade and Tai Chi structures.Image


Team Pagoda focused on a pagoda centered in the area north of the boathouse that had a terraced ornamental garden and a view of the Chicago skyline. (Their idea was, by far, the best.  And most liked by everybody.)Image


Mr. Yang’s Group focused under the 18th Street viaduct, working to use and improve existing structures.  They designed trellises along the columns of the bridge and space for a stage and BBQ pits.Image


Surprisingly, there was not much support for a community garden from CASL members; most advocated for either an ornamental garden or no garden at all.  Dan Cooper, the environmental engineer rep from the park district further stressed the idea of not having a community by telling the team that having edible plants in the area was not recommended, due to the excessive spraying of pesticides

“No farm.” -Everybody


In ACE Design-Build Workshop, General Information on 04.06.2013 at .


IMG_2571  week 08-site installation-0  week 09_last work day-1

ACE is seeking one to two students who have an interest in design, construction, and community development to assist with this year’s summer program.  The collegiate assistant will fully participate in the summer Workshop as both a team member and teaching assistant.  It is hoped that the selected candidate will help motivate and lead the  team through the design-build process, while also assisting the instructors with organizational or administrative tasks.  The Workshop runs from June 26 through August 9, meeting M-F from 8am – 12pm at Curie Metro High School on the Southwest side of Chicago.  Curie is easily accessible via the CTA Orange line or city buses.  The last week of the program will be conducted on-site and will require longer work days during construction.  The Workshop is lots of work but lots of fun (photos above represent last year’s beautiful project for the Children’s Garden of Hope)!

To be eligible for this position, the candidate must have completed at least 1 year of the ACE program and be currently enrolled in a collegiate architecture, construction, or engineering program.   There are no further restrictions.   Architectural or structural design ability, construction experience, familiarity with 2D and 3D drafting programs, and prior leadership experience are highly desirable; however, it is not expected that one candidate possess an expertise in all areas.

Interested students should email resume and cover letter to ACE DESIGN BUILD DIRECTORS at by Friday, April 26.  The cover letter, in addition to highlighting past experience, should include current contact information and provide the year/number of the candidate’s former ACE team.  In appreciation for your participation, ACE will provide a one-time college scholarship paid directly to you, for college related expenses such as books and supplies.  Award amount is yet to be determined but will not be less than $1,500.

Program Summary and Thank you!

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 09.04.2012 at .

Program Summary

“The ACE / CPS Summer Design-Build Workshop is a student educational program focused on career exposure and community building through hands-on experiences in design and construction.  The workshop, run in partnership by the Chicago ACE Mentor Program and the Chicago Public Schools Department of College and Career Preparation, provides a unique learning opportunity for high school students interested in a career in architecture, construction, or engineering.”

The third annual Design Build Workshop was a success by many measures, exampled by the photographs of the finished project above, and by the smiles seen on the faces of our students and clients!  The project above, named by our students as the ‘Inverted Umbrella Trumpet Flower’!, was designed and built by our team of 15 high school students for the Children’s Garden of Hope in West Humboldt Park, Chicago.  The project provides work tables and seating, and will collect rain water for the vegetable plots at the rear of the garden.  Students were additionally responsible for coordinating the construction effort, which spanned just two weeks (culminating a 7-week design build program), and meeting the project budget of $7,000 (final costs ran just over budget at approximately $7,500).

I would like to extend a thank you to each of our talented and hardworking ACE students who participated this summer; and of course to the many supporters of our summer program!

  • ACE Chicago Board of Directors, Associate Board, and Supporting Professional Firms
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Curie Metro High School
  • NeighborSpace
  • the Children’s Garden of Hope
  • Lend Lease Foundation
  • Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture
  • Gensler
  • Halvorson + Partners
  • Helios Design-Build
  • Cushing Company
  • Chicago Center for Green Technology
  • ..and many individual volunteers!

Matthew Snoap, ACE Workshop Director

Week 08 Summary: Project Completion!

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 08.29.2012 at .

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Week 07 Summary: Site Installation

In ACE Design-Build Workshop on 08.20.2012 at .


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