Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Yesterday, the Arch Design Build class presented their final design proposal for the summer gathering space.  The students presented their work to three guests; the College of DuPage Director of Facilities Planning and Development, and two guests from the DuPage County Building Department.  The intention of this presentation was to simulate a mock client presentation and code review meeting, and to discuss any specifics related to the design that would need to be addressed.  Due to the unique nature of this project, we are able to provide these kinds of real world learning experiences for the students – something that we typically are not able to accomplish in a traditional design studio.
The students really pulled it all together for this presentation, and did a fantastic job communicating this project to the owners representative and code officials.  The presentation was orchestrated in teams, each team discussing one of the following issues: concept, site responsiveness, design process, construction detailing, material selection, cost estimate, code review, and final design model. 

The ‘Build’ aspect of this class has definitely changed the discussion, thought process and the manner in which students have approached the design challenge.  We had a much different kind of discussion today than we would have had in a ‘typical’ final studio review.  Being held accountable to build has changed the dynamic in the design studio in a very positive way.  I think this will become a really important learning experience for the students in this class.
Another unique aspect of this design study is that we included detail mockups as part of the studio process.  It was refreshing to get into the shop as part of the studio process, and the results were seen immediately.  The team working to build the mockup realized very quickly that they couldn’t frame the prototype exactly as it was drawn.  (How many times have us architects had that exact conversation with a contractor?)   And now, in the design studio, we have this very typical challenge of drawing versus the reality of construction.  By getting into the shop as a part of the design process, we learned a lot about how to proceed with construction of this structure, as well as the shortcomings of our drawings.  These detail prototypes will be invaluable to us as we move into the construction phase of this project, not only for the physical models they are, but also for the construction thought process that this exercise generated in the studio.

We now have a final design and approval to move forward.  Construction begins ASAP!

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