By Lauren Hale
Well we are past mid-reviews. Oh and FYI, we work on the same design project all semester and when we are halfway through we present what we have to get feedback on where to go from there. There were definitely semesters where I found myself completely redesigning and overhauling based on what the reviewers said in the mid-review. Thankfully this one went really well.
We presented as a group but we showed our group efforts and individual efforts in the same presentation. First was the master plan. We designed three city blocks in downtown Chicago as a group of three. Then within our master plan we each designed one particular building. I’m designing a rather tall hotel, and I have a feeling with all the additional floor thickness because of HVAC ducts and structural systems it is just going to keep getting taller, but I guess we will find out here very soon.
Overall, the presentation went very smoothly. We had a guest reviewer on the day we presented. His name was Steve Schlickman and he’s the head of the UIC Urban Planning department so he knows Chicago inside and out. He really liked our concept and ideas, models, and drawings which was very encouraging. He just asked us a few questions about how we plan to address some things. One of them was directed to my building because I have a hotel on a triangular site with a train going right through it. It has been a challenge but not impossible. So far the structural grid has taken the longest because you can’t put a column on the tenth floor that’s going to be right where the train runs through on the first three floors. He basically asked how I plan to address the noise. I’m not positive yet but there are plenty of precedents on buildings with trains going right through them, such as the Student Center on Illinois Institute of Technology’s campus, by Rem Koolhaus. There are noise-reducing rubber tracks that can be laid down instead of the metal ones but there will still be some amount of noise. I also plan to start the floors with guest rooms in them a few storeys above the train; hopefully the noise will not travel that far.
The other question he asked us was about how we plan to connect Rush University Medical Center more with our plan. We did say in the presentation that we have a medical area with clinics and therapy gardens and some other program. He was wondering about a more physical direct connection from our site to Rush. There is a huge highway right in between our site and Rush however. We considered his suggestion but we won’t be physically addressing the highway with our master plan.
Overall, the whole mid-review went very well. We did have to deal with technology issues, like internet connection, glare on the screen, not knowing how to use Adobe Connect. We were being videotaped and filmed for a live broadcast over the internet. We haven’t gotten to watch the footage yet and I’m not sure I want to, who knows how embarrassing that will be.