Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Climate Change/Sustainable Design

By Chase Masters

                  With this 6th blog I would like to talk about a subject that I care about and one that affects everyone.  Climate change has been a worry for years and now the main concern is the sea level rising and destroying cities, countries, and islands.  We know that there are greenhouse gasses that are the leading cause of global warming.  The one greenhouse gas everyone is concerned with is CO2.  There however are more gasses and methane that traps more solar radiation than Carbon Dioxide.  The built environment is the leading cause of Carbon emissions, much more than vehicle emissions.  The response to this information is to try to decrease building emissions and thus help reduce the amount of carbon as a greenhouse gas.  There have been a few challenges that came about to try and reach the goal of not having any carbon emissions in the built environment.  Some of these challenges are the 2030 challenge, reaching carbon neutral by 2030; and the decarburization of Chicago, making Chicago the first carbon neutral city by 2030.  You can read more about the 2030 plan here:  Or the DeCarbonization of Chicago here:

                  These challenges are a pushing point for architects to utilize Sustainable design in their buildings.  This will not only be better for the environment, however will also cost less for the owner in the long run with lower cost for heating/cooling as well as power cost.  There is many ways to use sustainable design some of them is designing the building around the built environment to utilize the sun exposure to passively heat the building in the winter and use the building to shade the windows to keep cool in the summer.  Building into a hill to use the Earth to heat and cool the building.  Designing the building around the wind direction to naturally ventilate the interior.  Using these design techniques along with solar collection, wind turbines, geothermal, and others will heavily decrease the emissions of a building and we will get closer to reach our goal of carbon neutral.

Loudest Stadium in the Country

By Patrick Londrigan

CenturyLink Field, formerly know as Qwest Field, is home to the Seattle Seahawks and located in the historic Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle, Washington.  This $430 million dollar facility was built a top the former site of the Kingdome.  The Kingdome was torn down and the concrete from it was processed and recycled to use in the construction of CenturyLink.  Half of that concrete was built into the stadium.

Figure 1: CenturyLink Field
The stadium was designed by AECOM and has a capacity for 72,000 fans.  Inside features a total of 67,000 fixed seats including 7,000 club seats.  The seating also expands to an additional 5,000 more seats for special events.  Also including 112 suites spreading over 3 different areas of the stadium, Suite, club and Red Zone.  Above those seats is a 720-foot roof span that covers 70 percent of the seats and reflects noise back onto the field, while still allowing for dramatic views of the downtown skyline and Mount Rainier.  But what makes the stadium so great are the fans that come to cheer on the Seahawks, the renowned 12th man.

Figure 2: View showing the metra near by.

You can currently find CenturyLink Field in the Guinness Book of World Records for the loudest stadium in the country.  Paul Greisemer, principal architectural director at AECOM said that the stadium was built to be a great home field advantage.  “The fact that it is loud is really kind of a result of a number of things that came about just through the design.  It’s on a very small site, comparatively to other stadiums, and because of that we had to compress the building very tightly.  Fans are closer to the field than they are in most any NFL stadium today.  So that combined with the desire to have a large roof covering, so fans are protected, really kind of combined the greatest of convergence of storms into a great environment.”
The materials used to build the stadium are also a major contribution to the roar of the stadium.  “It’s a metal roof so it naturally is a very reflective surface. As is the seating bowl in whish is largely concrete.  So there are a lot of those materials that are serving as sound mirrors, if you will, and bouncing the sound right back.” One of the best aspects of the design is that the loudest part of the stadium is located on the field.  So if you are a visiting team playing in Seattle, be ready for a very problematic game and if you’re a fan going to the game, be loud and be proud because the 12th man intimidates teams around the country.

Figure 3: Interior View

Weird Building in China--The Gate of the Orient

By Haoyang Li

The Gate of the Orient is located in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, a 301.8 (990 ft) meters high skyscraper building. Design by RMJM from UK.
The building have-North and south- two parts, looks like a huge door. Two parts are connected at 238 meters. The building have invested by serial company jointly together, totally investment amounting to 4.5 billion Yuan (734 million dollar), is expected to complete construction by the end of 2012, will be built with luxury hotels, apartments, office buildings, shopping malls, etc. a variety of functions.

Gate to the East, treat as "the world's first door", with a total height of 301.8 meters, need 160,000 cubic meters of hundreds of species glass curtain wall, construction area is 340,000 Sqm, the project is expected to overall completion by the end of 2014. The construction has been suspended in April 2013 cause of lack of money.
There is an amazing design on the top of the building. Architect designs a piece of garden on the top. As a common sense, Suzhou has called “City of Garden”. There are lots of beautiful garden from ancient time. The garden is already being a part of Suzhou’s culture. From the ground, people will never see this art piece. When you go to the garden you will have a feeling that you have go back to the history. When you have a cup of tea at the border, you can feel you are in the sky with the 300 meters height. This feeling really like you are in the heaven, fit in the philosophy of China.

This building is more popular of it “pants” look like. Almost all the media and citizen are talk about it when the plan has been process. Some people say the CCTV Headquarters not alone any more. (CCTV Headquarters also called “Big pants”) There are lots of photoshoped pictures upload to the Internet. Such as the “pants” have a different kinds of pants or connect with the really person.
Figure 2: Garden on Top 
Figure 3: Photoshop of "Pants"


Development in developing country

By Sabin Chakradhar

Nepal is a developing country with huge natural resources and huge potential to develop. Recently, along with the political turmoil, the country went through lot of transformations, especially the capital city Kathmandu. In the process of getting developed, some destructive image of the Kathmandu Valley could be witnessed during last few years.
It started with the demolition of the buildings for the widening of the vehicular roads inside the city. Many houses were pulled to ground so that the infrastructure development could take place. As most of the buildings were built in the time before the municipality Bylaws were introduced, they violate one or the other rule of the code. And many of the buildings that were built after the introduction of the Bylaws did not follow them because it would limit the built-up area of the building which is very expensive in the city. When the government announced that only the owners who built their building not violating any codes will get the compensation of the demolished buildings, there was lot of dis-satisfied owners. And despite the protest from several small groups of owners, the demolition process did not stop.
The development (or demolition) process lasted for more than the double of the intended period. It was a very hard time; dust covered the streets of the valley at all times, traffic jams made it difficult to drive and the dust and pollutions made it difficult to walk. And the situation became even worse when it started to rain; all the dust and debris turned into thick sludge and flooded the streets and roads. The government did not give any attention towards any of these issues. The reason may be: the government hardly managed the fund for the project so they could not afford any extra cost for the safety measures or manage the side effects etc. Whatever the reason was, our daily life was being hampered largely by the process and also our health was at great risk. But like most people in the valley, I consoled myself that it was for the development of the city.

After two years of painful development process, project was finally completed around my house (in few places it is still in progress), the roads were widened and everyone seemed happy about it. But after few more months, another group of people started to dig the hole in the newly created asphalt road. And when we asked they said they were sent by government to manage the Dhal Nikas (Sewarage system). And I think to myself, besides the political reasons, the reason our country is not developed is not the lack of resource or manpower but it’s the lack of co-ordination among the departments within the country and the lack of efficiency. It does not take a genius to figure out that the sewerage works need to be executed before the roadwork but due to the lack of co-ordination; they end up wasting both money and resource in completing the same work twice. Tragedy is: this is not the first time it happened, we fail to learn from our mistakes every time. But then again we are listed as the developing country and there is a reason why.

Video Animation - Part 2

By Ethan Brammeier

Two weeks ago I shared a video animation (Part 1) going through the site chosen for our studio project.  In this first video only a few roads were shown with the surrounding site.  Last week our group presented another video animation of our site.  This animation (Part 2) shows all of our buildings on the site along with pathways and trees.  There are still a few areas of our site that need to be further designed before final presentation.  This would include more landscaping, extra pathways, and a developed walkway through the middle of our site.   

            For our final presentation this animation will not only include an animation of our master plan, but our individually designed buildings as well.  Each group member designed either a hotel or set of apartments.  Our master plan consists of two different apartment designs and two different hotel designs.  The two apartment designs are split on both sides of the site as you can see below, while the two hotel designs are in the same location.  Since the hotels are in the same area there will be two animations made to show how the two function differently with the rest of the site. 

Most people think this program, Lumion, is just a program to make pretty pictures and videos, but I want to share an available option that helps in the design of our site.  Once our buildings were placed on the site, we were able to do a time-lapse sun study.  With this option we are able to determine exactly where the sun will hit certain areas of our site.  We are able then to change the size and location of buildings to gain or block the direct sunlight.  Once our building locations were set we could then look at the sun study again to determine where we want trees and gathering spaces.  For this sun study I chose to do a 24-hour time-lapse during the Summer Solstice, but the program allows the option to do any time of the year and any time of the day. 
            For the final animation I plan to add music so the videos are more exciting to watch unlike the ones I shared in this blog.  I know sound/music can highly influence how a video animation is portrayed to the viewers, so song choice will also be thought about carefully.  As far as the videos I shared in this blog, feel free to play your own music while the video plays (I would choose your favorite song because then you may like the video more).

Video Animations:  Part 1,  Part 2,  Sun Study
(Choose 1080p HD or 720p HD in the settings and let it buffer for best quality)


By Michael Young

After my junior year of undergrad at SIU I returned home to Springfield, IL for a summer internship. The experience I received that summer was amazing. A man named John Shafer established Shafer and Associates in the late 1980’s. When the firm first begin it was solely ran by John himself. John Shafer and Steve Warren joined together and became the head architects of the firm. Today the firm employs 5 different positions, Principal Architect, Project Architect, CAD Drafter, Intern Architect, and a secretary. It’s a small firm but I had a chance to get good experience in many different areas of work. John Shafer attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and has worked for 2 other firms before establishing his own firm. He has been practicing architecture for 35 years now. Steve Warren is considered to be the project architect and he is to oversee the production of projects and field observation while John does most of the design work. Steve majored in Residential then Commercial Architecture with a structure’s minor. After he became licensed in 1980 he has worked for various Architects in Springfield for over 40 years now. Shafer and Associates strives for design excellence, and have produced high quality construction documents that result in close bidding proposals. They always excel in client relations because this is a very tedious type of work. “Our firm is small in size, but we give the clients close hands on personal service and coordination through all phases of the project” (Warren, November 24, 2011). Projects they have done are: new construction of the Salvation Army in Springfield, the Illinois Education Association building, AOIC building, the State Fair entrance, and multiple high-end. The most well known project of Shafer and Associates’ is their newly constructed office building located at 1230 S. Sixth St. has recently won awards for sustainable design. The office was designed around the principal of energy conservation dealing with light and heat. The north side of the building has oversized windows to capture as much indirect light as possible, while on the south side they have small windows with distinctive sunshades. The building orientation will have to most impact on lowering energy costs. The idea was to minimize windows and walls on the east and west facades. By doing so, on sunny or even overcast days, they don’t typically turn on the lights till about 4 in the afternoon. For heating a cooling, the firm decided to go with a geothermal system. The AIA committee that selected this building for its awards comments they truly went into deep thought about everything in this building.

Image 1: (Above) Perspective of Shafer & Associates office building          

Central and Eastern Europe Part II – Sofia, Bulgaria

By Ryan Kinports

      After my week in Prague I flew to Bulgaria where I saw some of the most beautiful mountain ranges I have ever seen. There were aspects of Sofia that were similar to Prague – street cars, cobblestones, large public spaces, and the general architecture all related. It was obvious though that the overall economy was suffering. The average Bulgarian today has a net income of $461 a month and I seem to remember it being not much different in 2012. It was interesting for me as I could buy anything I wanted for a few dollars.
       I  had an interesting experience at the airport getting a taxi in that I got picked up by one of those private operators that don’t have posted rates. In Chicago this mistake would cost hundreds, in Bulgaria it was $20 and I got a short tour of the city so I had an idea of where attractions were.

One of the reasons I picked Sofia was the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It is a beautiful example of a modern era cathedral completed in 1912. It sits as a centerpiece in the city. They did not allow inside photos but the interior space is stunning.

Image 1
Not far away is Sofia University which besides being nearly free to attend has a beautiful central building that serves 21,000 students. This is the main entry staircase.
 Image 2
One of the more impressive buildings I saw on my trip was the National Museum of History in Sofia. The building is impressive but the way it was inserted into the terrain was well thought out.
Image 3
In most large cities in the region there are relics of the Soviet Union. Sometimes they are not complete. This sits in the main public square and his been sitting since dissolution.
Image 4
On that note the cold war museum is the most extensive I’ve seen in terms of hardware. This was just one part of the exterior display. Inside there was an extensive history of the Bulgarian military and equipment collection.

Image 5
I took a day trip into the mountains to the Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila which was completed in 927 and housed over 250 monks at its height. The paintings and construction are as impressive as the mountains that surround them. The fish was good too.
Image 6

Plovdiv is neighboring city that contains some of the oldest structured in the region. This is a functioning Roman amphitheater that had Shakespeare booked when I was there.

Image 7

Bulgaria has much to offer in natural beauty and the people, like most in the region, are friendly. I would certainly go back some day. Farewell for now.

Image 8

All images courtesy Ryan Kinports.

Integrated Technology

By Anthony Michael

This week I will be discussing a journal article that I read the other day.  This journal article discusses how technology in the classroom can cultivate the abilities of students and completely change the way that they work and think. The authors Kyle Peck and Denise Dorricott compare the educational setting to that of the real business world.  They ask the question; what would happen if we removed all the computers in the business world tomorrow?  How would this change the work environment?   They go on to describe how the world would cease to function almost entirely.  So why is it that the school’s educators are stuck in this pre-technology world?  Is it because they are afraid of change or because they don’t know the proper ways in which to utilize technology properly to influence the students? 
The authors then go on to describe the various stages that technology implementation goes through.  Educators are stuck in the second phase or the “creating puzzles” stage.  Using them only to grade or deliver their lectures.  To actually benefit students to the fullest potential that technology can educators need to move on the third stage, how technology can actually contribute to a compelling educational experience.
                   Technology can help many different types of students.  Some learn fast, some learn slowly, and every one of them has a unique way in which they gather information.  Technology can help individualize the learning process, by allowing each student to move at his or her own pace in safe, non-threatening environments of their choosing. 
Studies have shown that one of the most influential ways that computers have helped improve students thinking is in writing.  Computers allow for a “temporary” feel to what they are writing.  Changing the thought process to allow them to believe it is ok to make mistakes.  It can easily be changed and corrected at a later date.  Computers also allow for a more artistic expression through the use of video production, photography, etc.  This also allows for students who are not able to easily communicate verbally to transmit their ideas to the rest of the class and to the educator as well. 
                  This use of technology has the potential to free up the educator allowing them to access the student on a more frequent basis, providing them with a higher level of actual education instead of information conveyance.  It also allows the educator to provide a more per student based instruction towards each student and the particular needs that they need.  

Peck, K., & Dorricott, D. (1994). Educational Leadership, 51(7), 11-14. Retrieved November 9, 2014 from

Thesis: Construction Process of Modular Design with the Aid of Technology

By Robert Musial

Architects have been using modular design to construct buildings in a more efficient way by reducing the cost, shortening the time of built, and improving the quality of design. Most of modular design construction is off-site, this allows for much of the construction to be done inside a warehouse. This way the weather does not delayed the time of construction. By shorting the schedule there is a reduction in cost by not having to manage the site of the project. Designing a modular building requires a lot of mock ups and prototypes but, this ensure that workers can easily construct the design of the building which also overall improves the quality of construction. By building mock ups to for see problematic design and to build in a modular dimensions this will result in less waste on materials. Modular design is dynamic and economical for everyone that is involved in the project from the architect to the people using the building.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is one of the most powerful tools used today by providing two and three dimensional drawings, energy analysis, and even adding the four dimensions of time all with in a click of your fingertips. BIM allows for the user to create floor plans, sections, elevations, isometrics, and perspectives more economically and faster. Next, implementing energy analysis will produce an efficient and sustainable project by seeing real time analysis of building material and design layout. Lastly, the fourth dimensions of time is created by being able to demonstrate visualize graphics of construction that prevents errors during the construction process.  By including all the project’s graphics of construction it gives a valid time schedule for construction.  With using BIM in a project it will make the user a master builder by providing real time changes and fore seeing mistakes in the construction process. 
This thesis focuses on the construction process of modular design with the aid of technology for a potential infill building in Chicago, Illinois. BIM will be used throughout the thesis to provide architectural drawings, cost analysis, and energy saving to assistance on the choices of material, construction process, and design. With the aid of BIM multiple real time analysis will be documented to show the innovation of design to the infill building. This thesis shows how to the use of BIM improves modular design when implemented properly.

What's Next?

By Stephen Tutka

What is the next step? I find myself asking this question often. Whether this question arises in regard to architecture or life I feel that many students are asking this.
I will start with architecture as a professional goal of mine. What is next? Well, where am I now? I am a graduate student in an accredited program here at SIU. That is a good start. I would like to work toward being a licensed architect so, for those that don’t know, I will need to have a professional degree (which my accredited Masters of Architecture will be), complete IDP hours, and take the ARE. So, what is next? I am earning my professional degree.
What is next in my degree? Currently, I am developing my thesis and working on a project for my studio. This is where I find myself asking, “what is next?” the most often. I am constantly trying to work closer to completing these projects. I am going to be working on my thesis until I graduate next summer so I am slowly progressing through it. However, my studio project is another matter. For studio I find that iterations and evolution of ideas is very important. At this point in semester there is not much time left for exploration and more time needs to be focused on decisions and development. A “Just Do It” kind of attitude needs to be taken on. This is where “what is next?” becomes important. Every time I complete a task I must move on to the next one. Every piece needs to be refined to details. How does the structure connect? What is the wall section like? How do people move through the space? Does it meet building code? What do you do next to complete the project?

Lastly, what is next in the profession in general? This is an important question that is answered by staying involved in the architecture culture. Keeping up with friends and colleagues, reading periodicals, and being involved in professional organizations. I find that I learn a lot from these three sources. The people I have class with are often a great source for things happening in the architecture world. We all research different things for our projects and when we come across something interesting we often share with each other. Architecture Record is also a great source for what is going on. The down side of Arch Record is that it comes out once a month, but don’t worry because you will get daily emails. Also, there are many blogs and things you can find on the internet… like this one. And lastly, the AIA and the AIAS are fantastic professional networks that are constantly working to advance the profession and the connections within it. I would try to explain it but I think it is just something you need to experience. Try going to a local meeting. Or better, go to national convention in the summer.

Detroit, A New Set of Challenges

By Drew Baldwin

This week I think I will take a little bit more time to talk about my thesis and where it is headed and what new challenges I am discovering that will affect my overall outcome. If you did not read any of my previous blog posts about my thesis and abstract, in short, I am proposing a master plan of green spaces in downtown Detroit around the area of Comerica Park, a more attractive area as well as a more tourist friendly area. In doing this master plan, though I am in the very early stages of thinking at this point, I plan on carrying these spaces from the south side of the Fisher highway, which runs just north of the stadium, to the north side as often times you find highways create really nice barriers separating parts of cities into districts if you will. This was one of the first major challenges I began to recognize, how to carry these new green spaces from a more populated, nicer part of Detroit, to its outskirts and what some may call run down and dangerous.
Another challenge of my thesis, is proposing a design that will be relatively low cost, both in the short and long term. One of the major reasons for this is Detroit’s economy is in bad shape these days and the city is actually having to close down 50 parks this year, either because they can’t maintain them or they’re too run down to even try and salvage. Finding a way to provide cheap plantings and finishes for the green spaces as well as reducing construction costs will be key. The use of recyclable materials will be something I really need to look into if I want to achieve this goal.
The biggest challenge, at least in my opinion, is social sustainability; being able to make these parks and green spaces attractive enough to get past the initial excitement of a new park and keeping the inhabitants interest in them so they keep wanting to come back and use the spaces. With the crime rate so high and the economy so low, this will pose a huge challenge because these parks could turn into dangerous places, if no measures are taken to provide safer areas, ones that tourists and city dwellers will want to spend time in. One way to possibly get people to want to use these spaces, is having them participate in both the building and upkeep of these various parks. One would be more likely to visit and use a space of they knew they had a hand in creating it as well as being able to see the result of their hard work. Another benefit of having the community participate in the building of these spaces is a reduction in construction costs as mentioned before.

Just talking to my committee over the past week has actually gotten me more interested in this thesis topic, for several reasons, but mostly how challenging it will be; but I chose Detroit for a reason and look forward to trying to formulate a cohesive design that addresses the challenges I’m finding and what challenges I still may come across.

Thesis Beginnings

By Meghan Shanahan

Happy November Everybody and Welcome Back! We are now two weeks away from thanksgiving and I cannot wait to go home and see my family! Plus my mom, sister, and I have a tradition to Black Friday shopping every year! I miss Chicago so much so it will be nice to finally be home again! My grandmother turned 93 this week, so I just wanted to give a small shootout to her wishing her happy 93rd birthday!
             Last Friday we turned in our chair and member information for our thesis. I am happy and very excited about the teachers I have chosen to help and advise me through my thesis project. My chair I have chosen Professor Turnipseed, and for my two members I have chosen Professor Gonzales, and Professor Dobbins. I am defiantly very lucky to have such a great group to help me to succeed. For my thesis, I do plan on making some minor changes to what I am going to work on. I was originally going to create a Pediatric Urgent Care Center in Chicago. I am planning to stick with Pediatric Healthcare, but instead I am looking to create a Pediatric Emergency Room that is connected to an existing hospital and Emergency Room. I was looking at different hospitals in the Chicago land area, as of now I think I have chosen Loyola University Medical Center, but once I do a little more research I will know for sure.
            In Studio we have been working on our individual building and there is have not been a lot of major changes. Everything is small detail work that is just slowly making the project come together. But it is coming along great and I am very excited to about the future of the project, hopefully I will have more information for you next time.
Till then thanks for reading!

Skate Break: Stay Creative, Always Design

By Ryan Northcutt

I want to take a minute to take a break from architecture. This post will be more about design and business. Both of those topics alone are what architecture really is when it comes to the main key points of how architecture is today, but today it’s going to be about a hobby that I partake in outside of school. Most of my time goes to architecture, eating, and sleep. But I do spend my little free time I have working on skateboards. I have done a lot of research on the topic of skateboarding, mostly the history of it, and I would say I have a good understanding of why skateboarding is the way it is. Skateboarding is something that I am also passionate about, and I have been for almost all of my life.
            After bearing through a couple years of architecture school, I learned skills that others don’t learn. A lot of them are design skills, and the rest are craftsmanship. Prior to architecture school I had a bit of experience designing and crafting long board skateboards. It was something my dad taught me. But what I had begun to appreciate was the nature of wood. There are many features of wood that are just plain beautiful. I use wood in most of my designs because I find it so wonderful and appealing. So since those first encounters of crafting with wood and learning a design process, I have taken that into a different application.
            With much of my research, skateboards made in the early 1960’s and early 1970’s are made of solid wood. Most of which were DIY skateboards. But with all the products out in the world today, I thought to myself, why not recreate those first skateboards that really got the scene going. I used my design process I learned from architecture school to design skateboard shapes that are historically contextual, but elegant and beautiful. After a few pushes this became something more than just a few experiment skateboards. It is now a business, not a thriving one, but it’s an infant skateboard business that someday may be somewhat success, that’s if the cards are played right.
            It is not my intention to just talk about skateboarding the whole time. I have used this skateboard crafting hobby to fuel my design in architecture school. When we, as students, go through school, we spend much of our time designing and thinking extremely hard about one singular thing. After a while we get designers block and are on pause for longer than we have time for. It’s very unfortunate. But there is a way around that. First it’s taking a break from architecture. But second it’s still thinking about design. This second rule is the most important due to the fact that as soon as we turn our creative thinking off, it is hard to get back into the groove. So what I am saying is that I use this skateboard crafting hobby to keep my brain going, I transfer from one line of design to the next. It’s a process that I have found successful in helping me with studio design work, and also designing my hobby.

            So to say the least, take a break, but keep thinking about design. Be Creative.