Steel Fabricator Field Trips

Tomorrow we will visit a few highly regarded and medium-sized steel fabrication shops around the city to further our understanding of the material and the techniques used to shape it.

As we discussed, please divide your individual studios up roughly in to thirds as you decide where to go so that you can share your individual observations with each other as we re-group later in the week.  Please respect this request, as groups of students larger than 35 will crowd the shops.  Additionally, please remember that these are places that work with very heavy material and cut steel with fire.  Be smart about what you wear and be careful where you step.


Information regarding meeting times and locations is below:

1:00pm – Tesko Enterprises -Prof. Johnson

7350 West Montrose Avenue, Norridge, IL 60706, (708) 452-0045,

Note: This trip definitely will require a vehicle, and in very little traffic, the trip probably takes 30min from IIT.  Please plan accordingly so that you are not late.


2:30 – MILKdesign – Prof. Klymson

2220 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL, 60608, 312.563.6455,


3:00pm – Crosstree Metals – Prof. Tinucci

1906 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL, 60647, 312.733.1234,


Enjoy the day!


assignment 1 – ASCENT / DESCENT


A small scale, high intensity material investigation that explores the relationship between circulation, structure, tectonics and space.

-learn to discover criteria and constraints on your own
-understand space and program as it relates to the scale of the human body
-develop conceptualization and problematizing skills
-explore material connections and expressions in steel and simple steel structures
– gain insight into steel fabrication methods and craft in order to control outcomes for objects
-interrogate the simple acts of climbing a stair, descending a fire pole and inhabiting structure to shape space and experience.
-focus on the craft of building a great model

Design a steel stair and pole tower for firefighters. It may be a lookout for forest fires, a candidate-training tower, or the everyday access to/from the apparatus floor of a fire station. The critical investigations will be the act of ascending/descending and the details of connection (material, programmatic, and spatial) at each landing/level/platform. Investigate steel as the main building material both structurally and expressively. All structural components will consist of conventional or custom steel sections (tubes, angles, channels, W-sections, etc), sheet metal, steel cables etc. that will be applied to a conclusive structural system.

The remaining criteria are as follows:
1. The tower shall achieve a minimum height of 24’ and a maximum height of 30’.
2. The stairs (rise/run) and handrails must comply with a current code of your choosing.
3. The tower must include both stairs and a fireman’s pole, and the stair tower may include any one other single element.

1. A comprehensive and well crafted model of the tower at ¾” = 1’-0”.   Material of your choosing.
2. Minimum of (2) process drawings of the structure or material connections at 1 ½” = 1’-0” or larger.

additional resources:
1.  American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction.
2. Municipal Building Code of Chicago.
3. 2012 International Building Code.  ISBN-13: 978-1609830403.
4. Schulitz, Sobek, Habermann; Steel Construction Manual; Birkhäuser Basel, 2000
5. Ernst Neufert; Architect’s Data; Lockwood
6. Hoke, Ramsey; Architectural Graphic Standards; Wiley,2000