With agendas distilled and Parti in place, the final steps in the design of the Chicago Rowing Club are to finalize the design of the building systems and spatial experiences.  The most successful projects will use the developed Parti to lead the design process for every one of these systems and experiences, allowing the building systems and experiences to fully embody the idea, just as the programmatic organization or site strategies have.


– learn to use your Parti as the primary driver of all building systems and building experiences

– develop and produce plans and sections that investigate and convey space and experience through intelligent and creative use of drawing conventions.

– understand the relationship between building systems and spatial experience.

– develop structural frames and enclosure systems that embody the larger ideas and ideals of a project.



The key systems that should be considered are as follows:


Starting from the ground, develop a building frame that satisfies the complex issues of creating a form, resolving all typical building loads necessary to support the building while still advancing your design agenda as much as necessary to satisfy your larger design intent.

Consider the following as you develop your structural system.

– Does your structural system have a common and/or governing logic for resolving all of the parts in relation to the whole?

– Have you studied alternatives and variations that meet your specific criteria and analyzed their pros and cons?

– Not that is must, but does your structure satisfy a broader agenda?  If so, how?  If not, why not?

– Is your structural system exposed or is it concealed, and what is your process for determining the most appropriate answer to these questions?


Develop an enclosure system or series of enclosures, composed of all necessary parts to control the environmental stability of your Boathouse as well as satisfying the larger design agendas you have established through your Parti.

Remember, envelopes are the primary means of controlling visual and physical access to our buildings as well as energy transmission to and from the spaces we create.  As such, we should consider these primary systems in the development of our enclosures:

Aesthetic – Both from the interior of the building and the exterior of the building, the enclosure system, often in conjunction with the structural system, forms the visual expression of our buildings, and this expression must be considered and developed with intent.  The agenda for the expression should be developed initially from our Parti and realized through the specific use of materials, their connections and compositions.

Thermal – This system embodies the control of energy and moisture through the envelop and includes the primary means of waterproofing and insulating a building, as well as controlling the passage of water vapor.  These elements should form continuous lines of control and protection, and should only be compromised when absolutely necessary to satisfy other, and more important, agendas.

Use – Elements such as doorways and windows facilitate use, circulation and view, and must be manipulated strategically to choreograph a users experience in and through a building, and it, too, should be developed in conjunction with your larger Parti to become one with your overall design agenda.


Working with light, material, boundary, structure, circulation, use, furniture, scale, texture, threshold, etc, you should continue to build on your ideas from the inside out, working in as much detail as possible to fully develop the spaces of your monastery, and perhaps more importantly, the transitions between the spaces.

Thoughts as you develop the material and experiential systems of the building:

–          Is there a particular narrative that can be developed to shape the experiential systems of the project?

–          How can past/future/alternative agendas be folded into the mix using experiential systems?

–          How do decisions regarding structural and enclosure systems affect spatial experiences?


There are no explicit deliverables for this phase of the project.  You should be working towards developing the necessary drawings and models for your final review.  Drawings can and should include any information necessary to convey your process and your broader intent.

The key to successful project development is to be working at multiple scales continuously.  Site scaled drawings and detail scaled drawings should be utilized at all times over the next several weeks.  The same is true for the use of models.  You should be working with both building and site scaled models as well as larger scaled spatial experience models concurrently.




A Parti,from the French Prendre Parti meaning “to make a decision”, is often referred to as the big idea, and is the chief organizing thought or decision behind an architect’s design presented in the form of a basic diagram, model  and / or a simple statement.


With midterms behind us, let’s take a week to reflect and come to terms with the primary organizing systems of our proposal.  Take this week to update your proposal based on the feedback you received during midterm to craft a clear and well organized strategy that you can move forward with as we complete the design.


  • Finalize the organizing principles of your project.
  • Develop a clear organizational logic, diagram or set of drawings that reflect and substantiate your proposal.
  • Build a Parti that satisfies an agenda and organizes space or systems.


Revisit the critique you received during midterms, your current design agendas and your current design proposal and refine your proposal by clarifying the organizational logic.  

Ask yourself:

  1. What is the primary driver of your proposal?
  2. Which architectural systems are primary to your architectural proposal.  Which are secondary?
  3. What simple organizational logic or strategy can be overlaid with the proposal to clarify the plans/sections/diagrams?


  1. A refined set of midterm deliverables including an updated site plan, floor plans and building sections.
  2. A set of drawings, diagrams or models that clarify your organizational strategy or strategies.


Tomorrow we will have our midterm review in Crown Hall starting at 2:00pm sharp.  Please begin pinning up as soon at the DC review is complete (1:00pm), and please pin up as much work as possible so that we can begin promptly.

We will review by studio in the following locations:

Tinucci: Center Core west

Johnson/Siemionow: Center Core northwest

Kwong: Center Core northeast

Schachman:Center Core east

Glynn: North Core

Despite the short period of time everyone has had to generate a proposal, this is a formal review and you should treat is as such curate your presentations thoughtfully to get the most from the conversation and critique.

Looking forward to seeing all the work!!