Friday, October 2, 2015

Thesis Abstract

By Casey Bucher

            Every community has their own eyesore.  The home, neighborhood, or street that everyone talks about but nobody does anything about.  The aim for this thesis is a “Green and Blue Movement” of a neglected area such as the eyesores mentioned.  By creating this green and blue idea, the focus is set primarily on green sustainability and the environment, while also integrating the outdoors and natural lighting, ergo blue.  Producing a sustainable building and property, while also letting the clients enjoy the surrounding area through daylighting and views are the keys to making this a successful architectural thesis.
            The focus of this thesis is a residential renovation and urban landscaping plan to a run-down block in downtown St. Louis.  While focusing on a building’s historical significance and location, then transforming it into a livable and beautiful space for residents in an urban area.  Renovating an old worn-down building into a sustainable space that incorporates natural light as much as possible would provide both a challenge and a realistic situation that many architecture firms deal with.  Not only would a historical building be involved in this thesis proposal, but also the surrounding area.  Transforming the neighborhood block into a functional, livable village…for lack of a better term…from a blot area residents have avoided for years and years.

            By focusing on the main idea, Green and Blue Movement, this idea could be brought into fruition with great success.  The main goal is to create an environment and building that is made to last, while also figuring in the importance of bringing the outdoors in.  This green and blue combination is a challenging project that must been done flawlessly to achieve architecture gold…or maybe in some cases, platinum.
By Andrew Cunningham

Aaaaand I’m Back, Hopefully everyone is having a good semester so far. This entry is going to talk about an idea that I have for my thesis project.

Professional sports teams have been major parts of cities all over the world, they help bring a giant population of people together to cheer for the same thing.  Chicago is one of the largest city in the country and most of the sports teams have a lot of history and meaning to the city, whether it be good or bad.
The United center in Chicago, which sits in the near west side of Chicago roughly 2 miles from Union Station in downtown, is home to both the Chicago Bulls (NBA) and the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL). Both of the clubs are major parts of the city due to their success in their respective leagues, but unlike the rest of the major sports teams, they are so far removed from the city or their own neighborhood as in the case of the Chicago Cubs. This project is aimed to bring more attractions towards the united center to help connect it to not only the city, but its local community as well. Many sports fan enjoy going to sporting event but in today’s world tickets are so expensive that it can drive people away especially students and this project would help bring money in to the area, because even if someone is not actually going to the game, they would still be in the atmosphere of the arena and be around other people rooting for their team. It would also provide a place for visiting team fans to go during games as well. To make sure that this project is going to do what it is intended for, it is important to look at similar situations to see if the surrounding area has been improved. Wrigleyville on the north side of Chicago is important to look at because that area represents the kind of development that this project could bring to the west side of the city. There is a situation that more closely fits this project in St. Louis called Ball Park Village. It is a large building, across from where the St. Louis Cardinals play, which houses multiple restaurants and bars, and provides lots of space, as well a massive screens and projectors that show different sporting events.

Overall a multi-use development could help the area out by bringing in jobs and people. With the rising popularity of the Blackhawks and the Bulls remaining a playoff team every year, the building will be used almost every day and for 9 months out of the year.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village

By Alicia Luthy

Hello everyone! This last Friday and Saturday I ventured to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals play some baseball for their last weekend home before post season. Honestly, what better way to spend celebrating your birthday than Cardinal’s baseball? So for this week’s article I decided to write about Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village. Friday night I watched the game from inside the stadium and Saturday I watched the game from Ball Park Village. The atmosphere captured in both places is amazing!
I have now been to about four different stadiums for baseball and nothing feels the same as baseball at Busch Stadium. I have been to multiple games in different sections of the stadium and have never had a bad seat. The new stadium opened April 10th, 2006 with a St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers games. The fa├žade is constructed of brick and steel with arched openings for the main entrances. There are three main seating decks with a seating capacity of 46,700.  Another thing to note on is the amazing views from the stadium including the St. Louis skyline and the Gateway Arch. If you want to see the game experience in person then I highly recommend Busch Stadium, but if you want another amazing experience that replicates being at the game then Ballpark Village is your place.

Saturday was my first experience watching the game from inside Ballpark Village and not from the AT&T rooftop deck. The experience is similar to that of the stadium but it also differs quite a bit. Ballpark Village’s central space is a free place to go and watch the game and still be surrounded by hundreds of Cardinal’s fans. The village was built in 2014 and consists of multiple restaurants and bars.  They also have a rooftop deck that extends out to see the field known as the AT&T Rooftop deck. The rooftop seats include unlimited beverages and food. This Saturday we watched the game from the center of Ballpark Village. The space has multiple different screens on one wall and a large one in the center. The largest screen was playing the current Cardinal’s game. They played all of the music along with the stadium and created a great atmosphere to watch the game in. If you are looking for a great place to watch some post season baseball I recommend Busch Stadium or Ballpark Village. GO CARDINALS!!

Automobiles in an urban environment

By Aaron Neal
 The automobile has over the course of the last century changed how we design architecture.  The impact of cars has been so drastic that they become the main driving force in our society.  Huge interstates and garages dominate the urban fabric of our country.  People flow into cities for their jobs early in the morning and flow out of the city later after work.  This means that thousands of cars need a safe and efficient route to a location where they can store their cars for the day just to leave back on the same route back to their homes.  Automobile traffic routes are so dominant in our cities that they take up most of the space in any urban project.  This creates a problem when people want to build dense projects on smaller lots of land.  With more people on a lot of land, more parking has to be implemented due to local zoning codes.  Most designs solve this issue by including a parking garage in their project, but then these garages are the main driving force for laying out the structure and program.

                In my studio project, this notion of the automobile is becoming a major driving force.   We have a masterplan to design with a total square footage ranging near or above five million square feet on a site that is only 63 acres large.  This square footage doesn’t even take into account the amount of parking required by the city of Baltimore – where the project is located.  By calculating these requirements we came up with a required number of thirty one thousand parking spots.  This comes to a staggering nine million square feet on a site that is just only three million square feet.  This poses a serious problem.   We have to find room for fifteen million square feet on a space on only three million.  How do we find a way as a society to lower this required parking space?  Ideally having other modes of transportation could help lower that amount of people coming in with vehicles.  Bus routes and light rails are commonly used in cities these days that help reduce these numbers.  In the near future, faster public transit my come about in the form or PRT, High Speed Rails, the Hyperloop.  These new technologies would be wonderful, but there is still a question that is pertinent to our current project.  How do we solve the parking issue right now currently without these new technologies and infrastructure in place.  In our studio class we dropped the number of parking down to 9000 with carpooling and public transit being our justification.   Even then there is still the issue of 9000 people leaving and entering the site every day.  The issue now is more of how do we move people to and from and not where they are going to store their vehicles.  There are limiting entry points to our site so we will have to design a system that can safely and orderly get people to where they need to store their car and allow for a mass flood in and out during the times of work.  Overall this is a very complex problem that needs to be solved in the near future otherwise we are going to just worsen the problem further than it already is and maybe to the point of no return.  Maybe we are already at that point in which changing the car driven societies mind about their daily commute.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Technology in Architecture

By: Stephen Lauer

Post 1: Introduction
First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Stephen Lauer and I have attended SIU since my freshman year of college in 2011. I am from a small town in North Central Illinois and have always been interested in how many items come together to become a built object or space. At the beginning of college, I really had no clue as to how much work and time goes into the architecture profession. I thought that architecture was all about designing and building the built environment. In order to do everything that is required of this major and profession, a large array of technology is now required and is becoming the mainstream and is pushing the profession forward. Over the course of my posts on this blog, I will attempt to give pointers or simple tutorials on how to use certain programs.
That being said, over the course of my studies in architecture at SIU, I have learned that many different types of computer programs are required to do a variety of tasks. These tasks can range from drawing floor plans in AutoCAD to finalizing renderings in Photoshop. The program knowledge needed is quite advanced in order to produce quality work and to stand out in the profession. Firms are willing to hire graduates based on their knowledge of certain programs and even have potential employees take tests to show their knowledge and skills. If a job opportunity in our profession is based off of test scores in one or multiple programs, learning the programs while in school is extremely important. Universities cannot possibly teach us all the programs used in our field so, in turn, the pressure to learn these programs is placed on the student. Over the course of my education, I cannot count how many videos I have watched or how many articles I have read on how to use different programs to push my skills forward. I have followed close to a hundred different tutorials in order to learn how to complete a task in a program, ranging from simple tasks, such as how to put a door in a wall in Revit, to more challenging tasks, including how to design solar panels on a building that will follow the sun in Grasshopper and Rhinoceros.

I would like to end this first post by saying that we are in the age of technology and, if you do not know how to use a certain program or how to do something in it, do not give up. Instead, use technology to learn how to do it. Use Google to look up a tutorial or go to a forum about the program and ask how to do something. I have started these “help” posts because I have needed help and did receive it from someone who knows that program. There will always be people who are experts in their fields, so give them the opportunity to lend a hand to help us learn the programs and technology needed to be successful in architecture and whatever else we do. 

RTKL Associates

By Patrick Szczecina
My name is Patrick Szczecina, I went to Southern Illinois University of Carbondale for my undergraduate. Born in Chicago, IL and lived there till high school, I moved to Elmhurst and that is where I took my first architecture class and enjoyed it. My focus in architecture is that towards Urbanism and Pre-Fabricated / New methods of construction or living.
Recently ARC 551 (Graduate Studio) went to Baltimore, Maryland for a site visit and architectural tours. We spent a week looking at our sites, exploring the city and enjoying our time away from Carbondale. Before we left we were all assigned topics of research and in my case I had RTKL Associates, which is a firm. I had to research prior to visiting the firm, once I looked at it I found generic information on RTKL itself and not the branch that is located in Baltimore. The location in Baltimore is the Headquarters of RTKL, we were shown around and spoken to by Ross Smith a designer of the firm. RTKL was founded by Archibald Rogers and Francis Taliaferro in 1946 and later joined by Charles Lamb and George Kostritsky, which then created the name and firm RTKL. 

When first approaching the building the entry isn’t easily found, however following the flow of people that seemed to work in that area we walked through two doors. Upon entering we had to fill out our names and reason for visit, this was a security precaution. The building houses other business and not just RTKL. Once we all signed in we were allowed to enter the elevators and up we went to the second floor. Upon leaving the elevator we enter the lobby and are greeted by Ross Smith. Smith shows us to their break area / free workspace, and in this area we have chairs, high top, fridges, vending machines, tables, and a ping pong table (the ping pong table just came in, but didn’t come with paddles or balls). After a 30 min introduction of the firm and projects, Smith led us back to the lobby and later to the studio space. The space looking friendly and enjoyable to work in. Lots of space for work, gathering spaces and movement. Along each wall that separated spaces there is a dry erase and seating which to me seemed like a great idea to allow for flow of ideas. Each wall that wasn’t separating a space, there was graphics of designs and other places to pin up material. Forgot to mention that this place was remodeled, the person was an in house architect that laid out the new areas and interior aspects. At the end of the Studio tour, it leads out to the elevators and from there we asked questions that we had. Once the questions were over we were on our way to explore whatever else we wanted. 
At the end of this firm tour, I realized that this is a firm I would like to work at, the space looked comfortable, people friendly and it felt right for me. I’ve visited other firms and I didn’t get the same reaction to their workspace as I did to this one, so if at all possible visit RTKL.  

Design of the Design Studio

Megan Crider
Day one of fall design studio left many of us flustered and frustrated.  Thirty-one students were trying to formulate different groups for upcoming semester assignments… Organizing groups was not the issue; the problem in this scenario was that there is no space in our studio for an effective congregation of more than about four or five people at a time, let alone thirty-three people (the two instructors included).  The layout of the studio space is rectangular – the room is very long and narrow, as you can see in the image below (image by author).  I began thinking about the design of studio spaces like this one.  It would be very beneficial to incorporate a large open space used for conferencing and presentations in the studio.  The junior/senior interior design studio across the building has one such space.  During my undergraduate studies in the interior design program, we utilized that conferencing space quite often for lectures, presentations, one-on-one critiques with instructors, and group meetings.  It is an effective space, located in the middle of the classroom between the junior and senior studio sections.

If designed with a conferencing area, the design studio becomes a much more functional space for students and faculty.  Without ever leaving the studio, the class can have project presentations and larger group meetings.  Additionally, it becomes easier for students to check their work and presentations in a digital format before presenting.  This functionality within the studio would free up the separate conference room for others to use. 

Without the frustration of the first day of class, the integration of a conference space within an architectural studio would not have crossed my mind.  Now it seems like a very necessary and beneficial aspect of the space for both students and instructors.