This week, students and mentors met at CannonDesign’s office to further develop their programmed spaces through structural decisions and application of ideas into BIM. Engineers from Thornton Tomasetti gave a presentation on common structural systems and the different effects varying loads can have on those structures. The students compared steel building systems to concrete systems, discussing benefits and drawbacks to each one. After gaining a better understanding of how the weather and climate in Chicago can affect the construction process and the building itself, students decided that a steel brace framed structure would be the most efficient system for the school.

To introduce the capabilities of BIM, CannonDesign provided a presentation about REVIT.  In addition to BIM introduction, a REVIT tutorial was given introducing the students to the software program revealing the capabilities of 2D and 3D modeling. Learning the basics, students learned to draw walls, place doors and windows, add furniture from a component library and standard dimension and aligning features. Each student was able to work in REVIT developing their schemes for the Student Hub, Maker-Lab, Admin Support/Dining and Bio-Tech. By the end of the evening each group was working in a central REVIT model bringing their massing model to a 3D digital model.


week 10

This week, students and mentors met at CannonDesign’s office to further explore space planning and site strategies for their school. Precedent images of applicable program spaces such as Student Hubs, Maker-Labs, Admin Support/Dining and Bio-Tech Classrooms were presented by mentors from CannonDesign, as well as a massing and adjacency survey that helped students reimagine which parts of the program and site need to engage and interact with one another. The whiteboard wall was used to display the rankings of adjacencies determined from the survey results, further emphasizing the team’s priorities for each space. Following the survey results, the students gathered around their site model for a discussion on how the adjacencies decisions will affect the massing on the site.

After a group discussion, the students broke out into their project teams to translate their ideas into plans and sections. Learning to communicate ideas through drawing helped facilitate a collaborative discussion on how the program spaces will be used as well as visualizing the scale each space will occupy in their portion of the site.


week 9

Students and mentors met at CannonDesign’s office. As an introduction to program and massing, a presentation was given by mentors from Mortensen and CannonDesign highlighting the importance of coordination between design and the engineers. The engineers shared information about file sharing, Integrated Project Delivery, and 3D model as it pertains to building massing. After this presentation the students applied the concepts to their designated program groups consisting of Bio-Tech, Maker-Lab, Site, Student Hub and Admin Support/Dining.

The groups got hands-on building their scaled massing models (1″=30′), calculating the program needs and volumes while competing for locations on the site. Once each group had color-coded their massing blocks based on space needs they reviewed adjacencies and priorities of each program type, considering proximity of the river, parking, entry and the other program spaces. The conversations around the physical model began to reveal volumes and stacking opportunities and challenged the footprint of the building across the site. The analysis of this model will continue as the programmed spaces begin to further develop in floor plan and adjacencies are confirmed.

week 8-1

Students and mentors met at Thornton Tomasetti’s office.  CannonDesign organised for a speaker to present their research and master plan ideas for the Great Rivers Chicago project to the students.  After the presentation the students were divided into 5 groups to develop program ideas for the proposed project.

The five groups were:

  1. Bio-Tech
  2. Maker-Lab
  3. Site
  4. Student Hub
  5. Support / Dining space


week 7

Students and mentors met at Thornton Tomasetti’s office.  The students were divided into groups.  Each group brainstormed program ideas that they would like to have in the proposed school project.  Each group discussed they type of spaces and special facilities they wanted to have in the proposed project.  Once they had a list of programs, each group narrowed their selection to 3 options.  The groups presented their 3 preferred programs to the rest of the students.  The students then voted on which programs they wanted to include in the school.



Students and mentors met at Thornton Tomasetti’s office.  The students were divided into 5 groups to analyse the site.  Each group was given a topic to investigate about the site. The 5 groups were:

  • Sustainability
  • Adjacency
  • History
  • Vegetation
  • Opportunities

Each group then presented their site analysis to the rest of the students.

During the second half of the session, students presented their schools to the rest of the group.  They explained the school’s specialties, education system, extra curricular programs, sport facilities,  location, adjacencies, general benefits and challenges of each school.



Students and mentors met at Mortenson’s site office.  Mortenson’s gave a presentation on the construction project, giving detail history of the master plan, client, phase of the project and building use.  The students were then divided into two groups; The first group toured the site and learnt about the opportunities and challenges of the project.  The second group stayed at the site office and worked on the ‘Tower Challenge”.

The second group were divided into groups of 4 students and each group had to design a Tower constructed of toothpicks and marshmallows.  The tower had to be at least 20″ in height.  The students then had to purchase materials (toothpick and marshmallows) and build their towers within budget. The exercise involved students, designing, engineering, constructing, and calculating costs.



Students and mentors met at CannonDesign’s office.  During the first hour the Mentors gave a presentation on Colleges and life after High School.  Different types of colleges,  Study programs for each field (architecture, engineering and construction management), community colleges, study abroad programs and Undergrad, Masters and PhD programs were all discussed.  During the second hour, the students were divided into smaller groups and discussed further these topics and the students were able to ask questions about colleges and the different pros / cons of different programs.



Students and mentors met at CannonDesign’s office.  CannonDesign, Thornton Tomasetti and Mortenson gave presentations on the role of Architects, Engineers and Construction Managers.

CannonDesign’s presentation focused on the role of an Architect.  Projects of varying sectors and scales were presented to show the different level of responsibility, engagement and coordination that is involved within different projects.

Thornton Tomasetti presented the responsibilities of an engineer and the softwares and tools used on projects.

Mortenson’s Presentation concentrated on the general responsibilities in construction management.  The challenges and solutions of several constructed projects were presented and discussed during the presentation.







Students and mentors met at CannonDesign’s office.  Thornton Tomasetti gave a presentation on structures to the students.

Students met in the their groups and colored their foam blocks and strengthened their models and continued to explore and discuss ideas about what levels each of the programs should be situated.  Students also discussed structures and core location for the building.  At then end of the session, students had a final stacking diagram for their programs and developed a program section.

week 10