Site Analysis + Documentation

Course: A305 – 3rd Year Undergraduate – Semester: Fall 2010
Instructors: Blender, Braucher, Brown, Issa, Kearns, Kläschen, Pohrte, Rockey, Sorrell, Tinucci, Williams

The site of this semester’s project is located in Chicago on a portion of the block bounded by Halsted Street, Clybourn and Ogden Ave.


An architect sees site differently than other disciplines. Unlike a picturesque painter, who is more likely to limit the idea of site to a landscape, an architect is concerned with more than what is immediately visible. After understanding all the characteristics and qualities of the site that are visible the architect looks for patterns of behavior, experiences, and systems that help locate, demarcate, and suggest space.

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Happening: Tim Brown in the AM

Tim Brown will be at foot of the Calder sculpture at Mies Federal Center along Dearborn between Adams and Jackson this coming Saturday morning at 7:30 am. Open to anyone (also non-third years) and absolutely optional. Come if you want to see some really good buildings, draw them, take photos, and talk about them. Ought to be fun in spite of the early morning hour. Hell be there rain or shine.

Kearns Studio: Warmup Exercise

With site and material, construct a series of pieces which engage with a particular term or terms from Richard Serra’s trope list seen below.  Use the given material to explore strategies for providing shade. Expand the single square sheet through your designed operations to occupy a rectangle between 150-200%.  Each study should take you no more than 10-15 minutes.  Develop organization for your series at the onset of selecting your first term.  One of the key’s to successful iteration is to sensitively control change from each iteration.  Versions should find a comfortable point between baby steps and conceptual leaps.  Should a new trunk be started? On occasion sure, but diligently try to run the term out before switching to a new term.  Actual available time aside, I would like to spend somewhere around an hour working on the exercise in studio with 20-30 mins to discuss afterwards

Richard Serra Verb List via ubuweb

Assignment 1: Case Study

Course: A305 – 3rd Year Undergraduate – Semester: Fall 2010
Instructors: Blender, Braucher, Brown, Issa, Kearns, Kläschen, Pohrte, Rockey, Sorrell, Tinucci, Williams

Case Study Research
Architectural projects often begin with a survey of the existing architectural landscape in the form of case studies. The purpose of a case study, the research of precedents, is to familiarize yourself with the work that has come before and has previously examined criteria similar to the criteria you will be asked to examine.

Within each section, students should select two precedents to research and analyze. You are to select one precedent from the below list of buildings and one building that employs a large scale steel structure on your own. Using material found in the library (any library) and online, and utilizing multiple resources, collect as much information and imagery as possible to use in analyzing the following.

Notes: Use this assignment as an opportunity to learn how to utilize the numerous libraries and resources at your disposal. Any one article or image from the Internet is not sufficient to thoroughly understand and analyze your selected piece of architecture. The depth of your investigation will be apparent in your analysis and presentation.

Investigate all the following criteria in the analysis of your precedent

  • Parti/Concept: What is the building about?
  • Program: How do the spaces get used?
  • Site: How does the building interact with its urban and environmental context?
  • Structure: What is the structural system, its components and why? How is it functioning?
  • Materials: What are the main materials and what is their purpose?
  • History: What is this building’s story?
  • Culture: What is the cultural significant of the building? What role does it play?

Documentation + Format
The goal of the precedence study will be to establish a comparison of the distinct steel building examples within the studio. In order to achieve this, the entire studio will work with the same set graphic standards and scales.

On two landscape oriented 11”x17” pieces of paper, present the following:

  • Images
  • Plans, sections and elevations (1”=20’-0” though subject to change)
  • Diagrams and/or descriptions that explain the conceptual, programmatic, physical, contextual, and historic condition and/or circumstances of your selected precedent.
  • A hand drawn parti diagram of your selected building.
  • Any additional sketches, diagrams or information necessary to present your precedent.

Notes: As always, we expect for you to make the information you present your own through your analysis, understanding and presentation methods. Provide captions as well as a bibliography as part of your presentation.

You will be evaluated on the quality of your research, the depth of your understanding, the clarity of your thoughts and the level of craft in your presentation.

The presentation will be due on Monday, August 30.  Have printouts ready for pinup at studio start

Case Study Buildings

  1. Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza, Italy, Andrea Palladio, 1614
  2. Les Grandes Halles, Paris, France, Victor Baltard, 1858
  3. Gare du Nord, Paris, France, J. I. Hittorf, 1866
  4. Maison de Peuple, Clichy, France, Jean Prouvé, 1939
  5. River Rouge Glass plant, Dearborn, Michigan, Albert Kahn, 1928
  6. Federal Center Post Office, Chicago, Mies van der Rohe, 1974
  7. Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany, Mies van der Rohe, 1968
  8. Glass pavilion, Toledo Musuem of Art, Toledo, Ohio, SANAA, 2006
  9. Glenn Martin Assembly Building, Baltimore, Albert Kahn, 1937
  10. Buchholz Sports Centre, Uster, Switzerland, Camenzind Grafensteiner
  11. Mercat Santa Catarina, Barcelona, Miralles/Tagliabue, 2005
  12. Butler Building, pre-engineered metal buildings, everywhere, from 1910
  13. Hajj Terminal, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, SOM/Fazlur Kahn, 1972
  14. Factory Hall, Bobingen, Germany, Florian Nagler, 2001
  15. Phoenix Central Library, Phoenix, Arizona, Will Bruder, 1995