Final Descent

Good evening all. We hope all is well heading in to tomorrow’s reviews of our warm up project.  It’s been a good start to the semester.

Tomorrow’s reviews will be held starting at 2pm tomorrow in Upper Core.

We will begin by asking you to display your final models in Center Core, lined up in north/south running rows, with aisles between so that we may all wander around and view the work that has been completed.   We will lead the lineup effort, but if you could facilitate by having your models upstairs and ready to display at 2pm promptly, that would be appreciated.   We’ll spend 20 minutes or so reviewing the projects as a collection and perhaps talk briefly as a whole before breaking into our smaller groups.

After the display, we’ll be breaking into combined studio groups to review your work individually.  As the projects are small and relatively simple in nature, we will be combining studios with the intent of sharing the lessons learned and criteria developed between groups.  We will break into the studios as follows:

Blender/Johnson – West wall

Kearns/Klaeschen – North Wall, west side

Klymson/Parente – North Wall, east side

Park/Tinucci – East wall

Once broken up, the studio professors will conduct the reviews within the groups.

Please do remember our objectives heading in to tomorrow.  Our final deliverable is very specifically your best model, with drawings to reinforce your understanding of exactly how the stairs perform, are constructed, meet your criteria, etc.   We are all very much looking forward to seeing the final products.

See you tomorrow.


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