This week, we continued the exploration and evolution of our designs within our respective groups. We talked about how to express and describe the drivers of our design concepts. We learned more about to integrate different sub teams within the project to develop aspects of the design that immediately effect each other. While we spent most of the night working to tangibly develop our design, we did so through growing our Revit, drawing and computational skills.






This week, in the architecture group, we continued the development of the building’s massing (form). We arrived at three different options which we will continue to develop and narrow down in week 13. The engineering and construction groups met to discuss various systems which could be used in the building. They also talked about the possible cost of these systems. Towards the end of the night, all groups came together to give everyone an update on their respective portions of the project. While many of the following weeks will be working weeks, we continue to grow our understanding around the steps needed to design and actualize the combination of architecture and engineering.














This week, we got to have a Q&A session with the mentors about their college experiences and what we can look for when it comes to different public and private colleges, various university experiences and majors. After that, we broke out into our groups where we progressed each portion of the project. Each team talked with mentors about how to improve aspects of the project they were responsible for. We looked at example projects as a starting point for our designs.












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.


unnamed (1)




unnamed (2)


unnamed (3)

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.







Photo Jan 24, 6 36 01 PM







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?







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.









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.