These 2 weeks demonstrated the hard work of the students to finalize their ideas for the high school they’ve designed, branded the Chi H.U.B. School of Technology. Hosted at the CannonDesign office, students and mentors finished developing the designs of the school as well as the structural calculations, construction planning and landscape design. Groups working in Revit coordinated rendering images to provide the best snapshots of the school as they related to adjacent spaces. The branding team finalized the school’s objectives, logo & school name and layout of each slide.

Coordination was key in these weeks as the information of each of the groups was compiled into the presentation. As a group students and mentors decided on the order and flow of the presentation, the number of slides each group would have, and speaker order. The team began reviewing the presentation for the final in order to best describe the project they have worked so diligently to produce in a concise amount of time. After 2 pass-throughs as a team the time to present shortened greatly as the students became more comfortable with presenting their information. By the end of week 14 all of the content was finalized and placed into the presentation — all that remained was continuous practice on the verbal portion of the presentation to bring everything together. Also, a group photo was taken of Team 4! This included mentors from CannonDesign, Mortenson & Thornton Tomasetti, as well as the students that represent 14 schools in Illinois & Indiana.

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These weeks of ACE were busy in production. Meeting at CannonDesign’s office both weeks, students further developed plans and ideas in Revit for the each of the program types. Additionally, new groups were arranged to address Sustainability, Logistics, Structure, Landscape & Branding/Presentation. Each group (program & additional groups) consisted of 3-4 students with 1-2 mentors each.

The biggest developments of these weeks involved each team working in a variety of platforms: Revit, RAM (structural software), post-it note pull planning, bubble diagramming, sketching, and Adobe design software. Mentors from Mortenson & Thornton Tomasetti lead groups in structural calculations, logistics, phase planning and site development. Additionally, the branding/presentation team developed bubble diagrams to narrow in on the objectives of the school as well as the sequence of slides for the final presentation.

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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.