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

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!










This week we led off with an Introduction to Engineering presentation and finished with a really cool structural project- bridges. Each team had to figure out how to span a bridge which was to be 12″ in length and 6″ in width. Things we learned to address are- what are our connections made of and why? What is a structural member in tension? What is a structural member in compression? Is it better to use more or less structural members and what is the argument for either? How do we accommodate our aesthetic wants with functional needs?

After hours of debate & many ‘what if ‘ questions, we tested our structures. We quickly came to realize that we did good work as our mentors had to find addition weights to load test our structures. Many structures went through multiple load tests to get them to eventually fail.

Our mentors on the structural side also left us with some great references:


Congrats and good work to all of the students for their hard work, motivation and creative thinking.









The Design Project – Program & Teams

If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you aren’t doing anything very innovative – Woody Allen

What: The Design Process: Programming & Team Division
Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
When: Thursday, January 12, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
At this meeting, things were a bit more relaxed as it was right before the holidays. Mentor Baine gave an overview PK presentation on programming and the initial design process. Mentor Yao gave a presentation on sustainability. Then the continuation of a programming excercise allowed us to make semi finalized decisions regarding what programs and where each might reside in reference to the existing St. Boniface Church. The students were then divided into groups – CONSTRUCTION, SITE, NEW BUILDING, OLD BUILDING, & STRUCTURE. Each week moving forward will have deliverables assigned to a group and set alternating presentations that will allow everyone to know the progress of all of the groups!


Important Files:


See Design Process PK from last week.

Blog Quiz:

Describe a museum that you’ve been in before. Provide photos if available. If you haven’t been in one, look one up online and describe its character and how you think the space is experienced. Imagine! 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 19, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Week 7 – Site Programming

After a very deserved break, the students and mentors were ready to work hard and push forward with the project! The focus of last meeting was to come up with general concepts of how the space was to utilized. Now, the focus was to divide the project into 3 smaller groups corresponding to each building element in the Damen Silos site. To understand the size of the site, mentors prepared an activity that gave a sense of scale. Familiar elements like a store front or a football field were scaled to an aerial map of the site and students had the opportunity to see how these elements could fit into the site area. Students were surprised to see just how much land was available for use and how tall the grain silos are! The building and site breakout are as follows:

·       Building #1 (Silo structures with tall, thin structure attached) – Restaurant and vertical/urban farming

·       Building #2 (Wide building made up of many silo structures) – Art Gallery and School, possible sports complex

·       Building #3 & Site Development (Open canopy structure and design of the open space on the site) – Community Area for Farmer’s Markets, Craft Shows, Picnics, or Concerts. This group will also work on turning the rest of the site into usable space for other activities (pathways, grassy areas, courts for sports, patio, etc.)

Moving forward, groups will be made corresponding to each individual building element. Each team will be responsible for the coordination of the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction aspects of their piece of the project. This enables each team to go through and learn all the different aspects that go into the design of a building project. It is going to be a very busy schedule as the project develops but students and mentors are ready to work hard and push forward!

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Week 6 – Site Analysis + Bubble Diagram

This week’s meeting was focused on creating a new site analysis for the Damen Silos project. Students had to become familiar with the site and the surrounding area before moving forward with the project. Site logistics such as traffic routes, areas of interest, and surrounding neighborhoods were considered during this site analysis. Since it was their second time completing a site analysis, students were able to complete the assignment with ease! The next task was to create bubble diagrams for the concepts that students had for the project. The goal was to create a general concept to work with. Project elements such as vertical farming, a community art space, and an inviting landscape were discussed and programmed into the bubble diagrams. Students had the opportunity to share and discuss which ideas they liked best and wanted to incorporate into their design.


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The Design Project – Brain Storm

Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.   -Steve Jobs

What: The Design Process: Programming
Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
When: Thursday, December 22, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
At this meeting, things were a bit more relaxed as it was right before the holidays. Mentor Baine gave a PK presentation on the design process. Then a programming exercise helped the students moved forward with the design of an art school / gallery / entertainment venue in the St. Boniface Church.


Important Files:


Blog Quiz:
Research and find 2 great examples of an entertainment venue, 2 great examples of a gallery, and 2 great examples of an art school. Send images and a description of each to by this Thursday to get a prize!!

Next Meeting Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
Next Meeting When: Thursday, January 12, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

This week, we focused on Interiors and Branded Environments (BE).

We talked about how Interiors & BE Designers are concerned with studying human interaction and experience. Sometimes, this study involves how materials, furniture, lights and ventilation (among other things) are used in conjunction with spatial constructs of walls, ceilings and floors to create an atmosphere for the space. While Interior Design focuses more on the interior of built structures, Branded Environments may extend to the exterior of buildings and throughout neighborhoods in an effort to create a cohesive sense of large places. Both disciplines are always concerned with expressing the tone, sentiments and wishes of the specific client. For example, one client may prefer a more clean, contemporary design because they feel it expresses their brand/company more accurately. Verses, another client who may wish to show their customers a more traditional experience because it may better reflect the needs and wants of their customer base.


Breaking up into smaller groups after our presentation, we talked about how different aesthetic choices can determine the overall tone and statement of what we believe our design should relay to a more broad audience.





Week 4 – Lesson in MEP!

This week’s meeting was held at Primera’s offices. Students were given a presentation by Halvorson and Partners and Primera Engineers on the MEP & Fire Protection disciplines. It is important for students to understand how each discipline plays a role in the overall functioning of a building. In order to give an idea of the amount of MEP coordination that goes into a project, students participated in a fun activity. The “MEP Box” was given to each group of students. The challenge was to fit all of the ceiling elements such as conduit and ductwork into a small wooden box. Different colored pipe cleaners represented different ceiling elements. No two elements could intersect within the box and  students could not bend or change the elements in any way. What first seemed like a simple task, turned into a head scratcher for many groups! At the end of the activity, students had a firsthand look of how complicated MEP systems can get within a tight ceiling space.

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