Thursday, January 22, 2015

Proposed Stadium for the St. Louis Rams

By Patrick Londrigan

The holidays are over; we’re back from break, and its time to get back to work.  Time to start pushing designs for our thesis project and getting done.  Just a friendly reminder my thesis project is a new NFL stadium for the St. Louis Rams.  For those of you that don’t know St. Louis are in danger of losing the Rams to L.A. unless they come up with a new NFL stadium.
Now, over the break L.A. proposed their new stadium design and their so-called “NFL City.”  To respond to their proposal, a few weeks later, St. Louis came up with their own design.  St. Louis’ design is a few blocks north of their current stadium, Edward Jones Dome, and on the Mississippi waterfront. 

A new NFL stadium on the North Riverfront will benefit many of the current businesses and successes like CityArchRiver, the ongoing growth on Washington Avenue, Ballpark Village, St. Louis Union Station Hotel and the other downtown projects.  The entire metropolitan area will benefit as a business and tourism destination, and this stadium will create new and sustainable jobs while also delivering a significant economic boost for the region.
This stadium would be designed to hold 64,000 people with an initial seat distribution of 54,020 general seats, 2,000 suite seats (includes private suites and on-field seating), 480 loge box seats (eight seats each in 60 boxes), and 7,500 club seats.  The location plans to have 10,439 parking spaces on the 90-acre (part publicly owned, part privately owned) property.  As previously mentioned the stadium will be on the Mississippi waterfront, with an open-air design.
A few negatives that I, myself, have seen.  The possibility of flooding would be a concern at the location on the water.  Granted it was 20 years ago, but the water was once up 20 feet in August, which would make it very hard to play football.  The city does say they own 25% of the land they wish to build on, though the other 75% is own by several businesses, so of which will be extremely hard to move, one being Laclede Power.
Though it will be difficult I believe that the St. Louis stadium is possible.  I will be pursuing this site for my own thesis project for the new Rams stadium, with hope that it will be used in the future.  This would be a great opportunity and a chance to revitalize the downtown.  Fingers crossed the Rams stay in St. Louis.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winter Break- Texas Visit

By Sabin Chakradhar

After the hectic schedules and deadlines from fall semester, it felt great and refreshing to have the long break before starting the new schedule. During the break, I took the trip to Texas along with my wife to visit my sister who lives in Irving city. This was going to be my second visit to Texas, the first one being very short I did not get an opportunity to observe the place up-close and only left me with the longing to visit again. And this time I had more time.
On first week, I took some time to see different buildings in the Dallas downtown. I came to know that some of my friends from college are working in the architectural firm in Dallas and they joined me and walked me around some of the famous buildings designed by the great Architects like Frank Lloyd Wrights, I. M. Pei, Rem Koolhaas and firms like Morphosis Architects etc. It was a great feeling walking around the buildings that I had only read in books and seen only the pictures of.  Every now and then we discussed about the Architectural features of the buildings and about the Architects and my sister waited there yawning. We also went to some museums including ‘The Sixth Floor Museum’ from where President John F. Kennedy is believed to be shot from and ‘Perot Museum of Nature and Science’ designed by Thom Mayne and his firm ‘Morphosis Architects’.
The effects of the Urban Sprawl could be seen on the streets of the suburbs of the Irving city. The pedestrian ways are wide but we can barely see any one walking on it. People like to stay indoors and use cars whenever they need to get out. I am used to seeing lot of people in the street back in Nepal, and it amazes me every time I see the empty streets of United States.  Whereas the river walk in the San Antonio was a different experience with so many people and so many activities going on in the streets. The place itself was very amazing and the people in such large number walking, eating, singing, sitting, dancing etc. made it even more exciting. I believe that the ‘quality of space’ has this tendency to change the behavior of people.
After the refreshing break and tours, I am back in form and ready for another exciting semester.
Figure 1: Perot Museum of Nature and Science by Thom Mayne

Figure 2: Dallas City Hall by I.M. Pei

Figure 3: The Reunion Tower

Figure 4: The River walk in San Antonio

Thesis Case Studies

By Kyle Fountain

The following precedents, although very different in context and purpose, all share similar modular tectonics, innovation of assembly, and expression of materiality.  The tallest cross laminated timber (CLT) building in the world was completed in October 2012, only eight months after beginning construction.  The Forte, located in Melbourne, Victoria was designed and built by the contracting company, Lend Lease (NA, 1).  Architectural innovation is often regarded via buildings as objects, appearing to defy the laws of gravity.  Still, innovation can be manifested out of many other opportunities than an unprecedented cantilever, or a race toward the mile high skyscraper.  For instance, the Forte accomplishes innovation through materiality, economics, and aesthetic.  Utilizing CLT as a building material is sustainable, strong, and allows opportunities within apartment units to eliminate drywall, a material used by all of the aforementioned innovative gravity defying buildings.
Figure 1 – A rendering of The Forte building in Melbourne, Victoria
The words prefabricated and modular often appear alongside each other, however, when defined deviate considerably.  Prefabricated structures are assembled within tightly constrained climate conditions, with a very precise tolerance.  This is very different than onsite construction, or in situ.  Still, in situ building can be beneficial in providing a humanistic character, similar to Brazilian favelas.  Modular construction is a repeated unit or units that comprise one structure.  Another mixed use high rise apartment, similar in proximity, typology, and speed is the One9 apartments in Melbourne, Victoria.  This building, however, was assembled in only five days via an offsite prefabrication process (Walsh, 1).
Figure 2 - On9 Apartments During Assembly
This 34 unit structure designed by Nanda Katsalidis is only nine stories tall, however, the specified off site manufactured units are currently being specified on building up to seventy stories tall (Walsh, 1). 
Lastly, a proposal for a hotel and office structure in Xi’an, China might invent a new typology.  The Shelf Hotel is a concept designed by 3Gatti Architecture Studio.  The Shelf Hotel is intended to be an open dialogue building, open to completion with public cultural input.  The intention is for a structure to be assembled, then units will be placed onto the structure, akin to placing an item on a shelf.  The end product would be an assemblage which has evolved over time.  Still, utilizing an opposing approach to architecture and time than the aforementioned Forte and One9, where fast track was the desired intent, the Shelf Hotel will be an ongoing project for years predicated on economic demand rather high or low.


1. Forte Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2014, from
2. Walsh, C. (2014, July 24). One9 Apartment Tower Constructed in Only Five Days. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from
3. NA. (2012, May 10). Shelf Hotel by 3Gatti Architecture Studio - Dezeen. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
 Figure 1:  Image Courtesy of -
Figure 2:  image courtesy of: inhabitat.comone9-nine-story-prefab-apartment-tower-was-installed-in-just-five-days
Figure 3:  Image courtesy of 3Gatti Architecture –

Revitalization of the Detroit Entertainment District | Case Study

By: Michael Young

Where did break go? After 5 weeks off school it is back to the grind. Time to really start rolling on my thesis project. If you have been following my recent post, most of them have been explaining different parts of my thesis. I have done extensive research into different stadiums and arenas. The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvannia is the newest, most efficient professional NHL stadium. Good design in architecture is not just if the building is visually appealing, but also if the building provides the correct amenities needed for the specific building function. In order to provide the best design as a whole, extensive research needs be performed by examining different case studies of stadiums relating to the design, sustainability, and functionality of the building. Stadiums and arenas are very large structure with complex facilities.
Consol Energy Center | Pittsburgh Pennsylvania  
The Consol Energy Center is located at 1001 Fifth Ave. in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. It is a multi-purpose indoor arena that serves home to the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Construction was completed on August 1, 2010. The arena is the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certified arena in the NHL. Populous architecture firm were in charge of the overall design of the arena, while working with local architect, Astorino to develop the construction documents. The arena is mainly used to serve Pittsburgh’s hockey team, however many other events take place here also such as: college basketball games, arena football games, concerts, collegiate hockey, and even used to film a movie. The arena’s capacity is just over 18,000 people for hockey games. LEED ratings are broken down into categories and given a certain number of points per category. The Consol Energy Center achieved 42 total LEED credits giving it a Gold Certification. The arena launched Cisco’s StadiumVision to give the fans an interactive and high definition experience they can enjoy throughout the entire arena. Since the arena is used for such a variety of events, this program wanted to create a customizable look and feel for each of the world-class events that would be hosted here.  The Penguins now have one of the most advanced arenas in the league relating to sustainability and technology.

Case Study Review

By Sean Williamson

After a long 5 week holiday break, we are back in studio and back to working! For this blog I would like to discuss a book I recently read titled ‘Investing in Resilence’ written by the Asian Development Bank that discusses the importance investing in resilient structures within our cities.

Natural disasters the world have recently faced has highlighted the exposure of urban cities to natural disasters and emphasized the need for making cities resilient to disasters. Recent disasters have highlighted the vulnerability of the built assets to natural disasters and therefore it is very much important to focus on creating a disaster resilient built environment within cities.

The case study goes on to discuss natural disasters related to Asia and the Pacific. From the years 1970 to 2010, 1.7 million hazard related deaths were recorded in the region. Earthquakes and storms have been the leading cause of hazard-related death in Asia and the Pacific, together accounting for 85% of total loss of life from 1970 to 2010. With Flooding and earthquakes causing the largest direct physical losses, with floods accounting for 35% of total losses and earthquakes accounting for 32% of total losses in Asia and the Pacific. These statistics prove that any resilient building techniques used to design a structure in the United States could be applied to Asia and the Pacific to drastically reduce deaths from natural disasters. 

The reading then goes on to discuss the aftermath these natural disasters leave behind. The real toll of a disaster includes a wide range of indirect impacts and secondary effects as a consequence of the direct human and physical losses. These indirect impacts take the form of disruption of flows of goods and services stemming from the direct losses. For instance, such effects can include reduced output; higher production costs; disruptions
to domestic, regional, or even global supply chains; and even job losses.

After reading about different parts of the world and how they are effected by natural disasters, I hope my research in this field can improve the quality of lives for people all over the world.


Architecture Defines us

By Chase Masters

For this 9th blog I wanted to talk about something that I believe and wanted to share.  That architecture is one of the most distinguishing characteristic that defines a culture.  With that thought we got to think about what people would look back at us and what would define us most, the style of architecture that we left behind.
                  With all of the ancient civilizations the different style of pyramids, temples, and city planning has left a giant footprint.  With this we could learn how they used these buildings that remained and how their lives revolved around religion, or government, or different lifestyles.  This is shown with the Egyptians and the pyramids how they had treasured the afterlife and the pharaohs where the ones allowed having their riches buried with them as well as having great buildings for their graves.  The Aztecs and Mayans worshiped gods and thus had temples as their important buildings with large pyramids to illustrate this.  The ancient Grease architecture shows a lot about the lifestyle of their people with their temples and civic buildings, and as well as their homes to show how they spent their leisure hours and enjoyed being surrounded by nature and water.  This is also shown with the Romans, how they enjoyed entertainment with the circus and amphitheater.
                  The different types of architecture catch the culture from that era in the buildings and this shows future generations how things used to be, what was important during this period.  With this being said what will be the next style of architecture that we would want to capture our generation.  Would it leave a big impression on future generations? Or just fall to the curb.  Either way whatever we focus and try to improve today is what people would look back on in the future.

Rocio Romero: LV Series

By Robert Musial

Rocio Romero is a Chilean American architect that is located in Perryville, Missouri. Romero studied at the University of California at Berkeley receiving a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Environmental Design with a Major in Architecture and also received a master’s of architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture. Rocio Romero LLC produces a kit house, kit house is a house plan design with all the supplies having a fixed prices of all material needed for construction, concept to design a modern and pre fabrication dwelling.  


The LV Series originally started from her building a dwelling for her parents in Laguna Verde, Chile, hence how the LV Series has received its name. Next from building the dwelling in Laguna Verde, Chile she has redefined the LV Series by building a weekend retreat for her family in Perryville, Missouri. The concept behind the LV series is simplicity, spatial quality, and sustainability.  The LV Series is a kit that comes with plans, instructions, and parts for the exterior construction of the shell of the dwelling. The plans of the drawings are well detailed enough to allow construction worker to get permits from local jurisdiction. The LV Series instructions come with construction manual, materials list, schedule, specifications, and an informative DVD showing how the kit design comes together. With the abundance amount of information provided in the kit it allows for the owner to build the kit house by themselves or for a general contractor to build.
The LV Series come in four standard options: LV Home, LV Large, LV mini, and LV garage.  The LV Home is a 1,150 square foot design that provides a living room, dining room, kitchen, two bedroom, two bathroom, and closet starting at $36,870. The LV Large is a 1,453 square foot design that provides a living room, dining room, kitchen, three bedroom, two bathroom, and closet starting at $42,950. The LV Mini is a 625 square foot design that provides a one bedroom, one bathroom, kitchen, living/ dining area starting at $24,950. LV garage is a 625 square foot garage port starting at $20,570.  There are also other options that can be added for example the LV tower and the LV court yard.  Also if needed there is upgrades options for seismic and high wind area.
The LV units come in a standard with of 25 ft - 1 in but vary in length. The LV units are meant to be freestanding or can be combined to create a larger home or in a housing complex. Wall panels come in 2 x 6 or 2 x 4 framed exterior wall with ½ in OSB. The post and beams come in at 4 in x 4 in steel posts and glue beams that create large opening in the exterior walls. The steel post are prefabricated into the top and bottom plates and the glue lam beams are 5-12 in x 11- 7/8in and come in large 24 ft sections. The LV home comes standard with Kynar 500 coated galvanized steel. This allow for clean finish look with no rivet, blot, screw and glue.  The LV kit is manufactured and shipped by Branstrator Corp out of Indiana.
The LV unit allows for owners to buy different options type to create their own home. With the easy of this kit the owner right off the bat know what kind of materials are going into the house which allow for him to know the cost of the project. Also the kit provides with well enough detail that can even allow the owner to attempt to build this home kit on his own. This is a well design prefab home as over 163 LV units in 29 states have sold and built. 

Central and Eastern Europe Part IV – Budapest, Hungary

By Ryan Kinports

Image 1:
I was consistently pleasantly surprised at the quality of airline food. They give you real silverware too!

Image 2:
My first night there I wanted to get my bearings and visit all of the “must see” attractions at night. This is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge spanning the Danube.

Image 3:
This is a view from the Budapest Citadel which overlooks the city. The citadel was used as a battery and command center by the Axis during the Siege of Budapest which saw at least 179,000 killed. Now it is a beautiful memorial, museum, and park.

Image 4:
This is the Hungarian Parliament Building which was completed in 1904. The excellent condition is both because of the relatively new construction and the thorough maintenance being conducted. It survived mostly in tact through the war while much of the surrounding real estate is only several decades old.
Image 5:
The Hungarian State Opera House is one of the best examples of architectural detail in Budapest. Much of the building is detailed and in excellent condition. It was opened in 1884 and has some of the best acoustics in the world.

Image 6:
The common theme of underground mass transit is present here as well. This is one aspect of urbanization that American cities sorely lack. The depth of these systems was impressive.
Image 7:
I use Trip Advisor to plan most of my activities while traveling and so far it has never lead my astray. At the time a shooting club was the number one “things to do” so I decided to go. At first it seemed odd as the range is in a basement but the staff and experience were outstanding.

Image 8:
I had a small layover in Istanbul on the way to the next blog destination. One day I will return for a longer visit.
All images courtesy Ryan Kinports.


Classroom Imagination

By Anthony Michael

Man does it feel good to be back in the swing of school and beginning work on my thesis.  I will get back into the topic of that in a future blog, but for now I want to present to you a continuation of my previous blog article posts.  The most recent article that I have read and studied came from Therese Jilek and is entitled For Back to School, Reimagine Classroom Design. This article covers the classroom design changes that the Hartland-Lakeside school District in Hartland, Wisconsin.  These teachers have created innovative, state-of-the-art learning spaces that allow the children the flexibility to move around, collaborate with each other, and express themselves in creative ways. 
                  This massive change in the learning environments was facilitated by the teachers themselves, and how they realized that different teaching methods and learning expectations for students required environments that were radically different than rows and groupings of desks.  They knew that in order to best help students they needed to start over with the classrooms.  Not only in how the classrooms are laid out but also how they teach the curriculum to the students.  They found out that students do better if they can talk to each other about various problems inside the “classroom”. This facilitated the need for clusters of small groups, individual learning spaces, and spaces that allow for the opportunity of information to be shared to the whole class.  In order for this type of learning to be done, flexible reconfigurable furniture and technology is needed.
                  A look at the real world is a great way to gain an insight on how these type of spaces can be configured.  Starbucks for example provides a great model on how social spaces foster groups and individual collaboration.  Spaces like these allow for a comfortable environment that can be simply and easily reconfigured depending on the size of the group and the nature of the work that is being discussed.  These types of places also delve into a multitude of sensory engagements, from sound, color, temperature, and special surroundings.    
Various tools and methods can help these types of spaces.  Having desks that can interconnect very easily into pairs, trios, or a large table of four or more can give students the opportunity to change nature of the collaboration within a very short time frame.  High stools that allow students to move around the classroom or spin about from group to group or project to project.  A mix of low or high tables allowing students to pick how they want to sit and work on their projects.  Various pops of bright color in the furniture and on the walls create a visually interesting environment for the students. 
These classrooms are now reflecting how they believe students learn best, and how they have a positive effect on both the teaching and learning of the students and the teachers. 

Jilek, T. (2012). For Back to School, Reimagine Classroom Design. MindShift. Retrieved January 15, 2015, from