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)

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.







Photo Jan 24, 6 36 01 PM







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

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 

Architecture is bound to situation… the site is a metaphysical link, a poetic link to what a building can be. -Steven Holl

What: Budget PK / Teamwork towards achieving milestones & client comments / NEW BUILDING & STRUCTURES Presentations
Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
When: Thursday, January 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Why: First, the students learned about a project budget while enjoying dinner. Then, the teams broke out and kept moving forward towards old and new milestones and more client comments. Collaboration is key to success, and by now everyone must realize that compromise is also key to solving the problem at hand. The design is ever changing. Upon further investigation, the concern is that the new building can no longer cantilever above the existing because it would require too much building to get that high and not enough program. There’s talk of possibly penetrating through the old building. the conversation will continue next week!

Important Files:

Assembling a Project Budget


Blog Quiz: N/A

Next Meeting Where: Stantec, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
Next Meeting When: Thursday, February 2, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Team 7 Week 10 01

This week we brainstormed our building programming and started conceptualizing our program layout.

Team 7 will be looking at a structural reuse of the Morton Salt site, which is a former industrial site on the near northwest side of the city that’s roughly bordered by Elston Ave to the west, the Chicago River and Goose Island to the east, North Ave to the north, and Division St to the south. See below.

Team 7 Week 10 02

The Morton Salt Site

This site will give us a number of unique features to play with, including access to the site from the River or from Goose Island, and several buildings with large open space on the inside and tall ceilings.

After brainstorming some potential building programming in small groups, we moved into bubble diagrams. This is an exercise often used by architects to conceptualize programming spaces within a building or site, without limiting their thinking to physical shapes or sizes. For instance, in a building like a gym or athletic facility, you’ll probably want bathrooms within the locker room facilities and both of those should be near the pool. For that situation, a bubble representing the bathroom would probably be fully within the locker room bubble, and then the locker room bubble may overlap a little with the pool area. This activity helped us visualize what spaces should be adjacent and what spaces don’t necessarily depend on other parts of the building or site.

Below is an example of a bubble diagram for a mixed-use complex.

Next week, groups will present their bubble diagrams, and then we will be splitting up into discipline groups (finally!).

Example of a bubble diagram for a mixed-use site.

Example of a bubble diagram for a mixed-use site.


Team 7 Week 10 01

One of the small groups works on their own bubble diagram.

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