Week 6 (July 23- 27)


The DBW Team split up into groups that worked on the sketchup model, the structural model of the leaf with the columns on AutoCAD, the information display panels, and the bench which has planters built into it. The structure group created a model that has a wood joint system and a model that had metal tubes instead to compare which version will be best. The display group began using photoshop to illustrate the 6 panels, and worked on the material list for the panels. The bench group worked on finalizing the material list needed in order to send to power construction, who is graciously able to donate lumber for the project.


Today we got into a large group at the beginning of the work day to have a list of things to accomplish. Most of the groups stayed the same as Monday, although a few students were put into smaller groups in order to work on: gravel vs concrete for the base of the structure and for the path way from sidewalk to the Ufarm gate, leaf cladding material list, and finding the orientation of the structure on the site. Christian took a group of students to the site, which were able to mark off where the pathway and the structure will be placed so that we can begin digging soon. A few students were able to give insight to what they did today and what they learned, one student from the information display group said she was finishing up the layout of the panels before she implements the information about the Ufarm. “Being able to adjust to changes made for the panels and columns made some moments rigorous, yet seeing the reality of a process like this in the project expands my appreciation for work being done on a larger scale” – Riley


Today the team took a trip downtown to see the construction being done on the renovation process of the Willis (Sears) Tower. The project is going to make a new lobby space, while also updating the elevators to be faster and more energy efficient. The project is expected to be completed in 2020 and is the first large-scale renovation being done in the Tower’s history. Turner, Clayco, Thornton Tomasetti, ESD, and Gensler are a few of the companies working on the project. Iron and construction workers were seen actively working on the structural components of the renovation.


Today marked the beginning of the construction phase, as half of the team went out to level out the weed patch that took up space within the perimeter of where the structure will be built, and started to break ground to create a gravel path. The other half of the team stayed at the ideashop to continue working on the information panels, materials, and shop drawings. Material list has to go out to Power Construction, the company donating the lumber. Shop drawings of the leaf structure will be sent out to Chicago Rolled Metal Products.


The majority of the group went to the site to continue digging, and a few students stayed at the ideashop to finalize the information wall display panels. On site, measurements were checked and adjusted to ensure that a path is created from sidewalk to the ufarm. The group on site broke up into groups that worked on leveling out the weed patch and digging up the path to the ufarm gate.


A few of the students and TA’s came to bKL Architecture firm to work on the photoshop files that had the information panels, and the construction documents for the foundation of the columns, a site plan that showed the structure oriented in the position that it will be built in in order for the person that is coming out to pour concrete on Wednesday to see beforehand. They are expected to come survey the site on Monday, July 30th. We were able to get a tour of Matt’s office and we were able to have lunch before getting back to work. The group worked at the office from 9am-1pm, and some stayed till 4pm to continue working on the connection details between the columns and the leaf structure.  

Alexander Casimiro, Teaching Assistant

Week 5 (July 16-20)

Today we split into 2 groups: one working on the project, and one getting a SketchUp Tutorial. Since we are starting to use computer modeling heavily for the project, we decided it would be worth it to do an in-depth SketchUp tutorial. While half of the class were in the SketchUp Tutorial, the other half continued to work on the project, implementing the feedback that the client gave us on Friday. To achieve this, we split into 3 smaller groups: seating/planters, information wall design, and digital/physical model making. Here are some the things that we changed:
The leaf structure is no longer touching the ground
No water collection
Removed planters from the end of the leaf (too tall)
Picture of the cross-section instead of having a real one (for maintenance)

Today we finalized the leaf design with help from Dominick, from Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects. We mapped out the leaf canopy to scale on the floor for the team to get a feel of how big it will be in real life. We decided that our original dimensions were too big, so we scaled it down. Instead of having the walls in a T-shape in the front of the leaf, we decided to split the walls and have one wall in the front, and one wall towards the back of the structure, for support. Since the planters will no longer be at the end of the leaf, we are going to design seating that incorporates planters as well. We are still deciding on steel vs wood columns for the structure. The information team is working on all the details for the display walls. There are 3 walls total, one will be telling the history of the UFarm, one will be displaying the technology, and one will be a Photo-Op. The information/technology display is our main priority because that has to be sent out to the client and must get approved. After we get a thumbs up from the client, we must send our the drawings to the manufacturer to get it printed. Keeping in mind the synergy between nature and technology, the students designed a wall with a hexagonal mosaic displaying information about the students and groups involved in maintaining the farm. Some of the hexagons which contain information, will be 3D to attract the eye of the viewer.

Kate and Mike from Turner Construction talked to the students about the next steps. What do we do now? Schedule! They told the team about the reality of planning in construction. As an architect, you will always want to keep working on your design but you have to learn to stop and move on. We are at a point in the project where we have to finalize everything. Making a materials list, calling manufacturers, and making shop drawings are next on the list. Only 12 days left until we start construction. Let the countdown begin!

The seating/planters team worked on a materials list for the bench. The structure of the bench was altered due to the change of material for the information walls. The walls will not be structural, therefore the bench will have to be connected to the two columns on the middle and end of the Information wall. Joshua, Mike, and Diana from Turner Construction worked alongside students to create a schedule for the rest of the program. We nailed some key dates:
Monday 7/23- All designs finalized with dimensions
Tuesday 7/24- Finalize SketchUp Drawing, Finalize Leaf Canopy Design, Order
Bench Materials, Metal Visit
Thursday 7/26- Order Columns, Finalize Information Display Content
Friday 7/27- Client Meeting, Order Information Display Materials, Foundation
Monday 7/30- Group 1: Concrete Contractor Site Visit, Digging Layout
Group 2: Laser Cut Information Display Pieces
Group 3: Building Bench + Planters
Tuesday 7/31- Digging + Assembling Displays
Wednesday 8/1- Column Installation
Wed-Fri 8/1-3- Foundation Installation
Monday 8/6- Construction Begins
Y-Bracket, Bench, Soil/Flower Installation
Tue/Wed 8/7-8- Canopy Installation
Thursday 8/9- Install Information Panels
Friday 8/10- Clean Up & Final Presentation at 10:30

Today the team took a break from the Idea Shop and went to see past DBW projects. Everyone got on the train and headed to Homan Square. After seeing 2 of the past projects, students began to realize that our project has a lot of complicated parts to it and we have to stay simple! Visiting the projects also allowed the students to see how materials look after a year or two years of being built. We are leaning towards steel columns after seeing last year’s project. We also got inspiration for the material of our display wall and how we will lay out the information. We can’t wait to get back to the Idea Shop on Monday to finalize all of the little details and start shop drawings.

Lisette Velazquez, Teaching Assistant

Our final week of the design-build workshop was very productive and exciting! We embarked on the construction phase, spending the entire week at the job site. Although we faced a few minor setbacks during construction, we were able to successfully bring the vision for our project to life, presenting the final product to our client, ACE, family, and friends on Friday. Special thanks goes to the ACE Mentors and Administration, The National Public Housing Museum, ACE Technical High School, Chicago Rolled Metal Products, Cushing Co., and Clayco Corp., for their generosity in helping to make this project a reality.

The project features a total of 40 spinning acrylic panels with graphics, information about the future museum, and historical facts related to the history of the Jane Addams Homes on both sides supported by an aluminum frame and “tree-like” column structure with Polycarbonate roof panels. Take a look at the images below of the “Informational Kiosk” for the future National Public Housing Museum located at 1324 W. Taylor St. in Chicago, IL, as well as candid’s from the week and our final presentation.


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This week was a busy one for the students! After some hiccups and quick fixes, our design was officially finalized, and all materials were ordered throughout the week. The students created construction drawings and began construction of the panel components of their design. Additionally, they started the final boards for the presentation of the completed design, which will be held next Friday August 11th at the completion of the program. We are currently coordinating various material deliveries for next week, and can’t wait to get started building on site bright and early Monday morning!

Week 6

This week the students were very busy! A lot of time was spent refining the design in order to create construction documents and order materials. Although the project is now slightly behind schedule, the students’ design has improved greatly since last week. Mock ups were made of the panel construction design, as well as Sketchup and Revit 3D models.

The students were also fortunate enough to visit the offices of Cushing Co. and Chicago Metal Rolled Products, where they were given tours and information regarding their project. Everyone learned a lot, and we are optimistic that the finished product will be great for the National Public Housing Museum and for the surrounding community.


week 5

This week, the team focused on finalizing the materiality for each aspect of the project. We worked in three different groups throughout the week: Informational Panels Group, Tree Column/Roof Group, and Budget/Schedule Group. Communication between all three groups was essential to the progression of the project and for accomplishing this week’s tasks. Both the Informational Panel and Tree & Column groups produced detail drawings using Auto Cad, displaying dimensions and annotations for each component.  The Informational Panel group also created a full size mock-up of one panel, helping us to understand what type of hardware and connections are needed to properly secure them. The budget & scheduling group worked to develop a detailed budget and began reaching out to potential contractors/suppliers to receive quotes for specific project scopes of work.

Friday was a field trip day! We traveled to three different places. Our first stop was the Aqua Tower where we received a tour of the bKL Architecture Offices. Next, we walked to the Magellan Development Group’s Lakeshore East Office. There, we learned about the master planning of the Lakeshore East Development and had the opportunity to see a scaled model of the entire development. We also walked over to a construction site for one of their projects, where we met with the construction manager and discussed the project. Our last stop was to the Hull House Museum. We received a tour of the entire house and learned more about the history behind both the house itself and Jane Addams.

collage 4

During week 3 of the summer design build program, the team focused on finalizing the design of the project and creating a presentation for the client meeting. Students worked together to produce final hand drawings, a digital model using Sketchup, and two physical models. Towards the end of the week, students began developing the project budget and schedule. Jason Perez , a Senior Project Manager, came and provided us with insight about developing a budget and schedule, sharing a few examples with us.



On Friday, we met with the client and community members to present our design. We had a great presentation and received positive feedback about the overall design. Following the presentation, the team discussed the revisions that we need to make to the design based on the client’s feedback as well as the direction that we want to take moving forward as far as scheduling, budgeting, and material selection.

  • Presentation Slides:
  • Client Meeting:


This week, students visited the site of our design/build project, and the future site of the National Public Housing Museum. Located at the corner of Ada and Taylor streets, this site is situated between Little Italy and University Village, and minutes away from the UIC campus. The students got to measure the actual dimensions of the site to get a better idea of where they want to place our design/build object, and get specifics on the size of our structure. We then explored the neighborhood, including the community garden across the street.

week 2 collage 1

After the site visit, we continued developing the design and have come to a decision on a final concept for the project. On Friday, we began to explore using the laser cutter and 3D printer to create models for our designs. Architect Phil Tu presented a tutorial to our team, teaching us how to properly operate the 3D printer. In addition, we created a scale model of one of the proposed designs using the laser cutter.

week 2 collage 2


As the students continue designing and adding detail to their concept, the project will continue to grow and evolve. We are eagerly preparing for our meeting with the Client next week!

We have officially kicked off our first week into this summer’s design build program! On Tuesday, June 27th, students had the opportunity to engage in a design Charrette with representatives from the ACE Mentor Program, National Public Housing Museum, and Chicago Public Schools. Faced with the challenge to develop a creative solution for a project to increase awareness of the National Public Housing Museum, students developed and presented a multitude of ideas addressing the design problem. Charrette participants worked together in teams to complete a site analysis of the museum as well as a proposed design concept.

collage 01

For the rest of the week, the team worked to narrow down our ideas. We created a list of the concepts, themes, and elements to incorporate in the design. In addition, we had a Sketch Up tutorial, researched precedents, and created a variety of sketches illustrating new concepts based on the feedback from Tuesday’s Charrette.

  • Concepts: Kiosk, Interactive fence, Sound Booth, Information Kiosk, tree, 3D Letters, Digital Storyboard, Convenience Store, Informational Structure (zig zag panels), Digital Face Cube, Canopy Structure, Bus Stop, Slideshow Fence
  • Themes: Roots, history, home, culture, relationships, society, family, humanization
  • Design Elements to Include & Consider: Provide/Collect information, audio/visual/engaging components, tell multiple stories, Be honest, Constructability, Mobility, Local Partnerships, Materiality, Digital, Interactive Components



Students sketched their ideas for this summer’s T-shirt design!

collage 03


Student Thoughts:

“I learned new ways to use Sketch Up, which was cool and very helpful. I also learned about kiosks during the program and what it is. I also learned more about public housing.”

  • Carlos S.

“I enjoyed getting revisions, working with people, and getting to know others. It has been a fun experience and environment. I love having something to do over the summer!”

  • Trinidad R.

“One thing I learned from the charrette is that clients don’t always have a clear idea going into a project but its our jobs to guide them through the process and create something that satisfies them.”

  • Darshan A.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Week 4 was focused on completing final drawings, models, and the presentation for the client meeting at the end of the week.

File_006 File_001File_003 File_002DSC_0923

On Monday, the students went on a field trip to the 606 Trail and Skinner Park to visit and analyze similar sites and projects.

On Tuesday, they further refined the design they chose from week 4 and developed standard views of the pavilion and seating structure. On Wednesday, study models of the main design and a couple of renditions were made.

Thursday was preparation for the client meeting/presentation in Nichols Tower on Friday. The presentation on Friday went well and the clients were excited about the initial prospective designs. After talking about a couple of possibilities for improvement and refinement, the students are ready for the next step of pre-construction.



Meldrick Dizon

Design/Build 2016 Teaching Assistant