For week 11, we watched a presentation which described the engineering profession in more detail. After the presentation, we went through a plenum exercise. In this case, the plenum is the space between the ceiling and the floor above. In the plenum exercise, we had to try to fit all of the building system components (HVAC, lights, electrical, plumbing, structure) into the plenum. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially, with a tight plenum space. Next, we split into the groups which would work on specific engineering disciplines or architecture & interiors. From there, we discussed the building in relation to which group we were now a part of. We tried to refine the massing of the building based on client feedback from week 10. The engineering groups talked through how they were going to proceed based on more finalized building massing and client feedback.

We also discussed ACE scholarship options and who had filled out their scholarship application forms.


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The Design Project – Production Time!


What: Basic Structural Elements PK / Teamwork towards achieving milestones & client comments / OLD BUILDING & NEW BUILDING Presentations
Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
When: Thursday, February 9, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

This week Mentor Stacy presented about structures basics and we touched on professional liability.

Students continued to design and work through new problems. Project Managers held their weekly meeting to discuss coordination between the groups.

At the conclusion of the meeting, OLD BUILDING & NEW BUILDING presented their work.


Important Files:





ACE 2017 Chicago Scholarship Application Instructions

Blog Quiz: N/A

Next Meeting Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
Next Meeting When: Thursday, February 16, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

This week, we had our client presentations. Three individuals from the Perkins and Will office served as our clients. We would like to thank Bridget Lesniak, Doug Smith and James Giebelhausen for joining us and providing feedback.


We presented our preliminary site analysis, programmatic bubble diagrams, design concept (parti), and formal massing which we used to describe the beginning stages of the project. Starting to see the project take a more solid form while receiving feedback on this form is exciting. Next we start to learn more about the specifics of building design starting with a building’s mechanical systems.

































This week we went to the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) where they hosted the Lego Lab workshop. Jesse from CAF gave a presentation on the process of design.

After the presentation, we were asked to create a duck in 10 seconds out of Legos. We were then asked to pass our ducks to the person on our left. This individual had 30 seconds to create a better duck out of the Lego duck we had just constructed.

Passing the duck to the left again, we were given 2 minutes to turn the modified duck into a hotel. Finally, we explained our thought process around why we made the design decisions we made.

In the next activity, students had to create a space for the mentors while, the mentors had to create a space for the students. We were given a square Lego base to construct the spaces on.

We then combined 4 Lego bases on what we were calling a city grid to mimic the urban environment. Lastly, we combined the city grids to become a dense urban ecology.







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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

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