ASSIGNMENT 2B: ANATOMY (Influences of Chicago)

S15 A306

ASSIGNMENT 2B_ANATOMY (Influences of Chicago)

download PDF here – S15 ARCH 306_ASSIGNMENT 2B_ANATOMY


Using the terms and criteria that we have begun to define and develop in the ‘Memory’ and ‘Bodies’ exercises, examine one of the prescribed territories in Chicago and model it.  Build an open system or framework model that will become your tool for investigating and exploring your specific territory.   This is the territory you will be designing the IDEAhaus in.


– Fieldwork

– Explore the city with intent

– Develop new understandings of place based on observation and modeling

– Use observations to develop ‘thick’ questions about site, place and time.

– Learn to build models and tools and armatures for exploration



In studio, select one of the six (6) ‘points of departure’ from where you will begin your research.  The points of departure are described as cartesian block coordinates (addresses) within the city :

  1. 800 EAST / 5100 SOUTH
  1. 1600 WEST / 3500 SOUTH
  1. 800 WEST / 2200 SOUTH
  1. 3000 WEST / 2000 NORTH
  2. 1200 WEST / 4800 NORTH


The ‘point of departure’ is a point (center) within an ‘AREA OF INTEREST’ that is to be explored.  The ‘AREA OF INTEREST’ is the territory defined by a 20 minute walk in every direction from the point of departure.  Very roughly, this territory extends a mile in the cardinal directions radiating from the point of departure.

In your small teams, visit the site.  Systematically observe the entire area of interest by any and all means available to you.  Observe.  Record.  Collect.  Transact.  Socialize. Repeat.


Build a model that is a framework or a tool for study and investigation.  Choose materials that are simple and easy to work with, abstract in their representational nature (green does not equal grass) and create a model that you can add to, subtract from over the next several weeks. This model will become the primary tool for substantiating your effort and progress.  It is critical to explore how to build models as design tools and not representational objects.

Begin by constructing a model of the place you have visited.  Be specific and actually model the site. There is no rush to be artisitc or intuitive or emotive.  Use high levels of craft, but use modeling processes that can be easily altered.  Models can be as large as you would like, but can be no smaller than 30” x 30”.


Consider the elements that you have observed and recorded and compare them to the vocabulary we have developed thus far in the semester.  Begin to alter your site model to reflect the influences on the site and develop a strategy for modeling them as such. Alter and/or augment your model to reflect these influences.

Influences that define places may include but are not limited to:

demographics culture history infrastructure transit
water parkland politics commerce landmarks
housing food services neighborhoods thresholds
zoning education geology industry density
entertainment movement topography economics tourism
institutions grid energy view sound



  1. Be specific.  Do not be hurried, but as soon as you are able, become as specific as possible about WHY and WHAT you are modeling.  Your model ultimately cannot be investigating too many influences. Again, the model is not intended to be purely representational.  It is intended to be your workspace for investigation.
  2. Use abstraction not to blur but to establish focus for yourself.  Be conscious of how you abstract elements and influences on the site and then be consistent with those rules.  Use abstraction only after you have specifically identified your intent.
  3.   Catalog/Index influences and potentials.  One you are specific about your intent, thoroughly explore that intent.  Pursue every instance of your focus across your area of interest, not just the first instances you observed.



  1.        What phenomena characterize the regions you’ve outlined?  What aspects inform your perception that it has an identity that’s different from its surroundings?  Can you provide evidence to support your observations – via your own empirical observation or collected data?
  2.        How would you characterize the texture of the region?  Is it continuous, a gradient, a distributed field, or another form?
  3.        Are the limits of the region abrupt, or are they fuzzy?  Is the character of these limits similar on all sides?



F 23 Jan                              Assignment launch / Site Visit / Fieldwork

S/S 24-25 Jan Site visits/Field Work

M 26 Jan site observations due in class / class discussion

W/F 28 Jan study models/desk crits

F 30 Jan Modeling as Framework Lecture, study models/desk crits

M/W 2/4 Feb desk crits

F 6 Feb draft final model due




For the review:

  1.  A single site model no smaller than 30”x30”” that represents the Anatomy of your area of interest.
  2.  Any relevant study models.


Note: Photographs of the site will not be permitted as deliverables for the review.


additional resources:

  1. Mark Bradford – (i like this one too for Bradford . . .

2. Petra Blaisse, A Personal Impression, Yves Brunier Paysagiste, Birkhauser, 1996, p.19-24.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s